Studies have confirmed that watching over 3 hours of TV per day doubles one's chance of premature death.
By: Amanda Froelich,
Upon waking in the morning, do you – by habit – reach for the remote control to turn on the news while brushing your teeth? Or how about while preparing dinner; is your television screen blaring the latest reality TV show or afternoon drama?
For most people, the answer to both of these questions is “yes”. To keep the mind occupied during tedious tasks, it seems Americans (and in close second, Europeans) are watching near 4 to 6 hours of television per day!
It may seem an impossible statistic, but according to A.C. Nielson Company, this amount of time is equivalent to one spending 2 months straight in front of the silver screen each year. In an average life of 65 years, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.
The insane amount of time watching mind-numbing media is not only a time-waster (for many who complain there’s “never enough in a day”), but is a dangerous habit linked with premature death and diminished well-being.
“Television viewing is a major sedentary behavior and there is an increasing trend toward all types of sedentary behaviors,” Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, MD, PhD, MPH., professor and chair of the Department of Public Health at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, told the media. “Our findings are consistent with a range of previous studies where time spent watching television was linked to mortality.”
In the study used, 13,284 young and healthy Spanish university graduates (average age 37, 60% female) were followed for a median of 8.2 years. Among people who watched 3 or more hours of TV a day, deaths were twice as high compared to those who watched 1 hour or less.
What is also interesting – and good news for those who spend a good portion of their time on the computer – is that no significant association was found between time spent using a computer and increased premature death causes.
Being sedentary literally kills… But it’s a modernized issue that can be remedied by switching off the television and getting outside. Along with a clean, healthy diet, being active is one of the most beneficial habits one can adopt.
According to the American Heart Association, the average individual is recommended to partake in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week; along with moderate to high-intensity muscle strengthening at least two days a week, such movement will keep one away from the screen and living their own life vibrant and happy.
It is becoming increasingly clear that diet and lifestyle choices are intimately connected; if you wish to improve your chances of living a long and healthy life, switch off the television, get outside, and commit yourself to creating the best version of you.