Television Watching and Telomere Length Among Adults in Southwest China

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Abstract

Objectives

To explore the independent associations of sedentary behavior and physical activity with telomere length among Chinese adults.

Methods

Data on total time of sedentary behavior, screen-based sedentary behavior (including television watching and computer or phone use), moderate to vigorous physical activity, and dietary intake of 518 adults in Chengdu, Guizhou, and Xiamen in China (54.25% women) aged 20 to 70 years were obtained between 2013 and 2015 through questionnaires. Height, weight, and waist circumference were measured to calculate body mass index and percentage of body fat. Telomere length was measured through Southern blot technique.

Results

Television watching was inversely related to adjusted telomere length (−71.75 base pair; SE = 34.40; P  = .04). Furthermore, a similar trend between telomere length and television watching was found in the group aged 20 to 40 years after adjusting for all covariates. Adults aged 20 to 40 years in the highest tertile of daily time spent on watching television had 4.0% shorter telomere length than adults in the lowest tertile (P = .03).

Conclusions

Although the association is modest, television watching is inversely related to telomere length among Chinese adults, warranting further investigation in large prospective studies.

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