PROBLEM: Cellular telephone (cell phone) use is positively associated with sedentary behavior, but not related to physical activity. Therefore, it is possible that individuals who use their cell phone heavily may participate in large amounts of sedentary behavior while also regularly participating in physical activity. Therefore, cell phone use may predict the likelihood of being an “active couch potato.”
Method: A sample of 228 college students completed validated survey items to assess their cell phone use, physical activity, and sedentary behavior. Tertile splits were performed and participants were categorized into low, moderate or high groups for each of these three variables. Participants were then categorized as “active couch potatoes” if they were a) in the high physical activity group and also in a high or moderate sitting group, or b) in the moderate physical activity group and also in the high sitting group. A binary logistic regression was then used to test if cell phone use group predicted being an “active couch potato.”
Results: According to the binary logistic regression the likelihood of being an “active couch potato” was significantly (χ2 = 11.0, p = 0.01) associated with cell phone use. Specifically, individuals in the moderate and high cell phone use groups were 2.3 and 3.5 times more likely (Wald ≥ 3.9, p < 0.05), respectively, to be an active couch potato than low users.
Conclusion: Moderate and high cell phone users were significantly more likely to be categorized as “active couch potatoes” than their low use peers.