Living a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk for many health problems, and people worldwide are increasingly developing obesity, diabetes and heart disease. One common feature of a sedentary lifestyle is spending hours in front of a TV, watching TV programs and movies. While this may seem harmless, a recent study shows that watching TV may shorten a person’s life expectancy by 5 years.
Spending afternoons and evenings as a couch potato may not be so harmless after all. A recent study by the University of Queensland in Australia shows that watching TV may shorten life expectancy by 5 years. For every hour a person spends watching a TV show, a DVD or playing video games, they lose 22 minutes of life.
The University used data that came from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study. Even though the researchers used Australian data, they believe their results are compatible with results that would be generated by other western countries. In the UK, people on average watch 4 hours of TV. In the United States, the average is 5 hours.
Risks of TV
The study states that the risks that come from watching TV for extended periods of time can be greater than those that come from smoking. One cigarette can reduce lifespan by 11 minutes. According to the study, the same effect could occur from watching TV for half an hour.
Watching TV is associated with living a sedentary lifestyle, and Harvard’s School of Public Health has stated that its “biologically plausible” that watching TV can result in more disease and early death.
Watching TV for long periods is associated with higher risks for having high cholesterol levels, more opportunities to eat junk food, and a higher chance for becoming obese.
A separate study done by the University of Southern Denmark has found that for every 2 hours of TV a person watches, they increase the risk for 2-type diabetes by 20%, the risk for a heart attack by 15%, and an increased risk of dying prematurely by 13%.
Stop Watching TV
One of the benefits of not watching TV is having more free time to invest in more fruitful activities. Instead of watching TV, it’s recommended that the new found free time can used on exercising and becoming healthy. Alternatively, a person can have more time to meet other people and to socialize.
People that attempt to stop watching TV often have to set forceful restrictions on themselves in order to be successful. While some people get rid of their TV, others get rid of their cable subscription. Some people also have successfully stopped watching TV by setting up TV watching goals and constantly shortening their TV time.
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Sedentary Lifestyle: TV Increases the Risk for Diabetes