Too Much TV May Cut Into Life Expectancy

Too much TV has never been viewed as a positive life choice, but according to a new study it could cost you years on your life.

HealthDay reports researchers found that people who averaged six hours a day of TV lived, on average, nearly five years less than people who watched no TV.

The study was published in the Aug 15 online edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

According to research by Dr. J. Lennert Veerman of the University of Queensland and his colleagues, for every hour of television watched after age 25, one's lifespan fell by 22 minutes.

For the study, researchers looked at TV usage data on 11,000 people aged 25 and older from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study in addition to national population and mortality figures.

In 2008, Australian adults watched a total of 9.8 billion hours of TV and those who watched more than six hours of TV were in the top 1% for TV viewing, according to HealthDay. The results showed that too much TV may be as dangerous as smoking and lack of exercise.

Still other experts believe that it is not the TV watching itself that cuts a life short, but the indirect harms associated with watching too much TV.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, told HealthDay, “As a rule, the more time we spend watching TV, the more time we spend eating mindlessly in front of the TV, and the less time we spend being physically active. More eating and less physical activity, in turn, mean greater risk for obesity, and the chronic diseases it tends to anticipate, notably diabetes, heart disease and cancer.”

Katz continued that another explanation might be that those who watch too much TV “are lonely, or isolated, or depressed, and these conditions, in turn, may be the real causes of premature mortality.”

Print Article