DOI: 10.4103/pedc.pedc_22_23 ISSN: 2949-8619

Association of screen time and physical activity with central obesity among adolescent school children in Kerala

Tina P Puthussery, Deepa T Unnikrishnan



Adolescents with increased sedentary behaviors can have an association with central adiposity and metabolic risk.


To estimate the prevalence of central obesity in adolescent school children in Kerala and to determine the association of excess screen time and inadequate physical activity with central obesity.


Selected schools in Ernakulam District, a cross-sectional study.


Adolescents’ (n = 400; 14–18 years) weight, height, and waist circumference (WC) were measured. Sedentary behaviors [excess screen time (ST ≥ 2 h/day) and inadequate physical activity (moderate to vigorous physical activity < 1 h/day) ] were measured using a prevalidated instrument. The association between sedentary behaviors and central adiposity indicators (WC > 90th percentile, waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) > 0.5, and WC > 70th percentile are taken as the cutoff for metabolic risk) was analyzed using Pearson Chi-square test.


The prevalence of central obesity was 3.5% with WC > 90th percentile and 19.8% with WHtR > 0.5 and that of adolescents with metabolic risk was 10.5%. Excess screen time and inadequate physical activity were found in 64.5% and 61.3% of the total population respectively. However, no significant association was found. But it was observed that the majority of centrally obese children (WC > 90th percentile) and those with metabolic risk were having some physical activity and were not sedentary (100% and 92.9%, respectively) which was statistically significant.


Results indicate a high prevalence of central obesity and metabolic risk and incomplete awareness about the recommended physical activity guidelines, possible co-existence of other risk factors, and the need for integrated interventions that will reduce at-risk behaviors.

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