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Health Indicator Report of Physical Activity, Adolescent: Watching 3+ Hours of TV Daily

Recent studies conclude that the amount of time children spend watching television has a direct relationship to their weight. Children who viewed the most number of hours of television per day had the highest prevalence of obesity (this held true regardless of age, race/ethnicity and family income)(1). Children who were limited to one hour or less of TV per day were far less likely to be overweight. Children who watched more hours per day of TV and for longer periods of time were less likely to engage in physical activity. That lack of physical activity and the increase in unhealthy behaviors contribute to emerging health issues for our children, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, diabetes, gall bladder disease, and sleep apnea (2).


Statewide estimates by year were calculated from the statewide New Mexico dataset that was submitted to the CDC.

Data Source

New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, New Mexico Department of Health and Public Education Department.


Percentage of students who watched three of more hours per day of TV on an average school day


Number of respondents who answered, "3 hours per day" or more, to the question, "On an average school day, how many hours do you watch TV?"


Number of respondents who answered the question, "On an average school day, how many hours do you watch TV?"

Healthy People Objective: PA-8, Increase the proportion of children and adolescents who do not exceed recommended limits for screen time

U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category

How Are We Doing?

The percentage of youth who reported watching three or more hours of TV has declined from 2001 among both males and females, but the rate among males increased again in 2009. The rate of youth TV-watching was higher than the NM overall rate in Luna County. Several counties fared statistically better than the state, overall, including Catron, Colfax, Harding, Los Alamos, Sierra, Torrance and Union Counties.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Youth in New Mexico watch three or more hours of TV at roughly the same rate as youth elsewhere across the U.S. Although NM TV-watching rates were lower in recent years (2005, 2007), they have trended back to the U.S. rate in 2009.

Evidence-based Practices

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that you can make a big impact in your child?s life by taking these simple steps: 1) Remove TV sets from your child's bedroom. Kids who watch television in their rooms watch an average of 4.6 more hours a week and are more likely to be overweight. 2) Limit children's total media time (with entertainment media) to no more than one to two hours per day. Studies have shown that for each additional hour children spend watching TV a day, there is a 2 percent increase in the chance that they'll be overweight. 3) Watch TV with your child and discuss the content. 4) Encourage alternative entertainment for children. Try activities that include both physical activities and pro-social involvement, such as joining school and community clubs, taking classes or being active with the family. In fact, physical activity can help control weight, lower blood pressure as well as reduce feelings of depression and anxiety (1) For more information, please visit
Page Content Updated On 11/26/2014, Published on 12/01/2014
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sun, 20 June 2021 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Mon, 1 Dec 2014 16:35:12 MST