Physical Activity, Television Viewing Time, and Retinal Vascular Caliber

Document Type

Journal Article


American College of Sports Medicine


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


ECU Health and Wellness Institute




Anuradha, S., Dunstan, D. , Healy, G., Shaw, J., Zimmet, P., Wong, T., & Owen, N. (2011). Physical activity, television viewing time, and retinal vascular caliber. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(2), 280-286. Available here


PURPOSE: To examine the associations of physical activity and television (TV) viewing time with retinal vascular caliber in Australian adults. METHODS: A total of 2024 adults aged 25 yr or older without known diabetes in the Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab, 1999–2000), a population-based cross-sectional study, were evaluated. Retinal vascular calibers (both arteriolar and venular calibers) were measured from digital retinal photographs using a computer-assisted method and were summarized into central retinal artery and vein equivalents. Self-reported physical activity time and TV viewing time were obtained using interviewer-administered questionnaires. RESULTS: For physical activity, no statistically significant multivariate relationships emerged for men or for women. After adjusting for confounders (age, sex, education, cigarette smoking, diet quality, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, plasma glucose levels, serum fibrinogen, serum triglyceride, and physical activity time), men who watched TV for at least 2 h•d¹ had a venular caliber that was 4.71 µm (95% confidence interval = 1.37–8.04 µm, P = 0.006) wider compared with those watching <2 h•d¹ of TV. No significant association with venular caliber was noted in women. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide the first evidence of an association between TV viewing time (a common, leisure time sedentary behavior) and retinal microcirculation. Further research is needed to examine these associations in different populations and by using more comprehensive physical activity and sedentary behavior measures.



Access Rights

subscription content



Link to publisher version (DOI)