TV Viewers Die Sooner!
A recently published report has suggested that watching too much television may cause premature death. Researchers say that their findings indicate that someone who watches 6 hours of TV per day dies, on average, 5 years before people who are not avid TV fans. The researchers from the University of Queensland further state that from age 25 every hour
spent watching TV leads to lifespan dropping by 22 minutes!
Australian adults watched TV for 9.8 billion hours in 2008. One in a hundred people watched more than six hours everyday.
Other experts have cautioned that the study doesnt really show that watching television actually does anything. The only thing that is proven is that there is a
relationship between watching a lot of television and a shorter lifespan.
Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine says that “
Though a direct link between watching TV and a shortened lifespan is highly provocative, the harms of TV are almost certainly indirect
“. Doctor Katz then explains that the television is not the problem, it is the lifestyle of the individuals watching it. He tells us that if you are watching TV then your lifestyle is sedentary, and hence less active. The outcome of an inactive lifestyle has clearly been identified as increasing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers. He also explains that many people watch TV whilst snacking on unhealthy foods.
As a footnote he adds that perhaps
another explanation is that some of the people who watch too much TV “
are lonely, or isolated, or depressed, and these conditions, in turn, may be the real causes of premature mortality
British Journal of Sports Medicine
published the report on August 15
in its online edition. Data on 11,000 people aged 25 years and upwards was analyzed. The data came from a previous report conducted by the
Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. This report included information on TV viewing habits and the researchers correlated them with Australian national and mortality figures.
A conclusion drawn by the researchers was that men would live 1.8 years more and women would survive an added 1.5 years if they did not watch TV. The researchers also suggest that when considering life expectancy then watching TV can be considered to be as risky as smoking or lack of exercise. They reinforce this by saying that
smoking can shorten of life expectancy by more than four years after the age of 50. That represents 11 minutes of life lost for every cigarette and that’s the same as half an hour of TV watching
Although all the data used came from Australia the researchers say that there is no reason to believe that any other industrialized and well developed country would display anything different.
Medical experts are well aware that there is evidence proving that the amount of time spent in a sedentary activity such as watching television compared to the amount of time spent doing moderately aerobic exercise, may negatively affect health. However if you only remain active for a small period of time then it might not be enough to make up for the risks of spending too much of the rest of your day remaining sedentary. A comprehensive approach is required to reduce the risk of heart disease, so doing exercise is good but remaining active for more of the day is also good for you when considering your cardiovascular health and wellbeing.
Other medical experts agree that a sedentary lifestyle can shorten your life. Some acknowledge that they do not fully know why but they do note that research has proved that activity is good for you.