Every hour of TV watched by the over 25’s could shorten their life by 22 minutes.

A recent study carried out in Australia and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has found that watching too much television could shorten your life.

Dr Lennert Veerman, from the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, said endless hours spent in front of the TV could put the traditional couch potato  viewer “in the same ballpark as smoking and obesity”. “While smoking rates are declining, watching TV is not, which has implications at a population level.”

Last year, another Australian study found an hour of TV a day led to an 8% increase in the risk of premature death.

Dr Veerman and his team took another study which was carried out last year and translated it into what it means for life expectancy in Australia given how much TV we watched.

What does this mean for Australians sitting at home with their feet up in front of the box? Well, most Australians watch about 2 hours of TV a day. This means that their life expectancy could be reduced by up to nearly 2 years for men and about 1.5 years for women.

It is not the ‘sitting’ in front of the television that is potentially life threatening, but rather the inaction and non-movement this causes. Being sedentary has long since been associated with higher mortality risks, particularly from cardiovascular disease. It has also been linked to diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer and obesity.

“Logically we know that physical activity is good for health and so it’s not so strange that the reverse is not so good,” said Dr Veerman.

So ironing or some other activity while watching TV will help lessen its negative impact.

In the worst case scenario, the report found that a person who was sedentary while watching 6 hours of television per day could be shortening their life span by nearly 5 years as opposed to someone who doesn’t watch television.

Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.
Source: The Guardian, UK