Thursday, June 16, 2011

Too Much TV Might Be the Death of You

We've always known that watching too much TV isn't good for our health one way or another. Your mom might have told you it will make you blind. Doctors and researchers tell us that screen time is associated with childhood (and adult) obesity. And now, we're learning that too much TV can be a killer for other reasons. Here's why it might be time to take a vacation from the sofa and start being more active.

According to a new study from Harvard University, a sedentary lifestyle that includes lots of TV time is associated with obesity, heart disease and diabetes. While other studies have found similar outcomes associated with TV time, this particular study gives a more tangible time frame that we can wrap our heads around with regards to health consequences. Truthfully, these results can apply to computer and other 'screen' times as well.

According to the study, spending just two hours a day in front of the TV increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 20% and heart disease by 15%! I'm not sure about you, but I can think of plenty of people who spend more time than that watching the telly or working at their computers every day.

This study is not saying that the TV itself is doing something to you that is bad, it's simply highlighting the fact that if you're sitting down for hours at a time, you're not doing other things like being physically active. On top of things, most people eat or drink while watching TV and they're more likely to eat larger amounts of food this way because they're distracted. It's hard to get the message that you're full when you're not paying attention to the signs.

The main message is that if you're a TV-holic, and even if you're not, the less TV you watch and the less time you spend sitting down each day gives you more time to get out and move about. This, in turn, will help slash your risk of a slew of chronic diseases. I'd say it's time to strap on your runners!