Computer use and food consumption pattern among economically disadvantaged children in Texas

Joanne Chow, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Despite the known associations between screen-based sedentary behaviors and childhood obesity, the mechanism behind the associations is still unclear. Given the increasing amount of time children spent with computer, research regarding the effects of computer use on children's diet can have significant impact on public health. We examined the association between computer use among low-income, ethnically diverse 4th to 5th grade elementary school students and their diet behaviors. Secondary data obtained from the Quest to Lava Mountain Study (QTLM), from self-report questionnaires, as well as 24-hour dietary recall were used. We examined the relationship between dietary pattern and the amount of time children spent on computer, as well as the type of computer activities, while considering known and suspected confounders in these relationships. Results from multivariate logistic regression showed that the amount of time children spent on computer is inversely associated with fiber intake. Trends were observed for the relationship between computer activities and food consumption. Additional studies will need to be carried out to further explore this finding. Majority of the children did not adhere to the dietary guidelines for most nutrients and food groups, with particularly low intakes being observed for calcium, vitamin D, fiber and vegetables, regardless of the amount of time they spent on computer. Continued efforts are needed to improve dairy and fruit/vegetable consumption for all economically disadvantaged children in Texas.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Nutrition

Recommended Citation

Chow, Joanne, "Computer use and food consumption pattern among economically disadvantaged children in Texas" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1552496.