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Screen Time, Other Sedentary Behaviours, and Obesity Risk in Adults: A Review of Reviews

An Erratum to this article was published on 21 June 2017


Purpose of Review

The aim of this paper is to assess the association between sedentary behaviours, including screen time, and risk of obesity in adults. A review of 10 systematic reviews was undertaken.

Recent Findings

Available evidence is generally not supportive of associations between sedentary behaviour and obesity in adults. Most studies that found significant associations indicated mostly small effect sizes. Somewhat more consistent associations were shown for screen time (mainly TV viewing), among older adults, and for pre-adult sedentary behaviour to increase the risk of obesity in adulthood. Some evidence also exists for breaks in sedentary time to be associated with a more favourable BMI, and for use of a car to be associated with greater risk of obesity.


There is limited evidence for an association between sedentary behaviour in adulthood and obesity and any association that exists does not seem to be causal. Future research is required investigating potentially positive effects for frequent breaks from sitting, less car use, and an uncoupling of TV viewing and dietary intake.

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Fig. 1


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations


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Correspondence to Stuart J.H. Biddle.

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Conflict of Interest

Stuart J.H. Biddle received a sit-to-stand desk from Ergotron from 2012 to 2014; consultancy fees from Halpern PR paid to Victoria University; professional advice has been requested by and offered to Active Working and Get Britain Standing; professional advice has been requested by and offered to Bluearth.

Enrique García Bengoechea declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Zeljko Pedisic declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Jason Bennie has a research fellowship partially funded by Fitness Australia, a not-for-profit, member-based industry association representing the interests of over 30,000 Australian registered exercise professionals, fitness service providers, and industry suppliers.

Ineke Vergeer declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Glen Wiesner declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Obesity Prevention

An erratum to this article is available at

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Biddle, S.J., Bengoechea García, E., Pedisic, Z. et al. Screen Time, Other Sedentary Behaviours, and Obesity Risk in Adults: A Review of Reviews. Curr Obes Rep 6, 134–147 (2017).

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  • Sedentary behaviour
  • Screen time
  • TV viewing
  • Sedentary breaks
  • Obesity
  • Adults
  • Systematic review
  • Causality
  • Motorised transport