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Open Access Research

Educational inequalities in TV viewing among older adults: a mediation analysis of ecological factors

Katrien De Cocker12*, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij1, Megan Teychenne3, Sarah McNaughton3 and Jo Salmon3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, Watersportlaan 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium

2 Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Egmontstraat 5, 1000 Brussel, Belgium

3 Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, VIC 3125 Burwood, Australia

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013, 10:138  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-138

Published: 19 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Television (TV) viewing, a prevalent leisure-time sedentary behaviour independently related to negative health outcomes, appears to be higher in less educated and older adults. In order to tackle the social inequalities, evidence is needed about the underlying mechanisms of the association between education and TV viewing. The present purpose was to examine the potential mediating role of personal, social and physical environmental factors in the relationship between education and TV viewing among Australian 55–65 year-old adults.

Methods

In 2010, self-reported data was collected among 4082 adults (47.6% men) across urban and rural areas of Victoria, for the Wellbeing, Eating and Exercise for a Long Life (WELL) study. The mediating role of personal (body mass index [BMI], quality of life), social (social support from family and friends, social participation at proximal level, and interpersonal trust, social cohesion, personal safety at distal level) and physical environmental (neighbourhood aesthetics, neighbourhood physical activity environment, number of televisions) factors in the association between education and TV viewing time was examined using the product-of-coefficients test of MacKinnon based on multilevel linear regression analyses (conducted in 2012).

Results

Multiple mediating analyses showed that BMI (p ≤ 0.01), personal safety (p < 0.001), neighbourhood aesthetics (p ≤ 0.01) and number of televisions (p ≤ 0.01) partly explained the educational inequalities in older adult’s TV viewing. No proximal social factors mediated the education-TV viewing association.

Conclusions

Interventions aimed to reduce TV viewing should focus on personal (BMI) and environmental (personal safety, neighbourhood aesthetics, number of televisions) factors, in order to overcome educational inequalities in sedentary behaviour among older adults.

Keywords:
Older adults; Education; Sitting; Cohort study