Television and Obesity

"The Awful Truth About Television: "Heavy" TV watchers are twice as likely to be obese"


Studies show: TV makes you fat

This large amount of time spent motionlessly staring at a screen is also hazardous to your health and girth. Numerous studies show a relationship between TV watching and obesity. The most striking were several studies published in The American Journal of Public Health. These studies found that people who watched three or more hours of television per day were almost twice as likely to be obese than people who watched less than one hour per day. Men, women, and children all had similar results. The waistlines of men, women, and children are all victims of their TV-watching habit.

40 studies found children's TV watching was related to weight

Reviewing 40 recent studies involving TV and childhood obesity, a Kaiser Permanente study found a definite link between the amount of time children watch TV and their weight. The review also found that interventions that reduce children’s media time resulted in weight loss.

It is common sense that TV will likely make you heavier

This issue, however, does not need the benefit of numerous studies. It is common sense to expect that people who watch a lot of TV are more likely to be heavier. Almost any other activity burns more calories than watching TV. Only sleep burns fewer calories. Talking on the phone, reading a book, doing the dishes—all burn more calories than watching television. With the national average of four and a half hours per day, the extra calories burned just by turning off the TV can add up quickly.

Commercials sabotage diets

Then, there are those nefarious junk food commercials. The mouthwatering hamburgers, candy bars, or luscious desserts practically beg you to consume them from the screen. There are approximately 32 commercials on every hour-long TV show. A significant portion of these commercials is for fast food and junk food. What healthy diet could stand the onslaught of these sinister, mouthwatering, commercials?

Where did that bag of chips go?

Finally, many people snack in front of the TV, usually with junk food such as potato chips, soda pop, or candy. In the zombie state that people usually fall into while watching TV, it is very easy to consume large amounts of food, simultaneously absorbing both the images and the food. “Where did that bag of potato chips go?” bewildered viewers ask.

Push a button and lose weight

The conclusion to this is obvious. Turn off your TV if you are trying to lose weight. It is the first step to a healthier, happier lifestyle. Turn off your TV and go outside. Turn off your TV and follow that exercise routine you started last New Year's.* Turn off your TV and do something fun with your friends or family. Turn off your TV and enjoy the rest of your life.

About 'The Awful Truth About Television' Series:

What happens when the average American spends 4 hours 32 minutes every day watching television? Trash Your TV's 'The Awful Truth About Television' Series explores the multifaceted problems with TV in eleven hard-hitting articles. Read the full series and you will never look at your television set the same way again.

sources:
Thomas N. Robinson, MD, MPH “Reducing Children's Television Viewing to Prevent Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial” JAMA, Oct 1999; 282: 1561 - 1567.
LA Tucker and M Bagwell. “Television viewing and obesity in adult females.” Am J Public Health, Jul 1991; 81: 908 - 911.
LA Tucker and GM Friedman. “Television viewing and obesity in adult males.” Am J Public Health, Vol 79, Issue 4 516-518.

*Check with your doctor before beginning any strenuous exercise program. Individual weight loss results will also depend on diet, exercise, and other factors.
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Katherine Westphal is the founder of Trash Your TV! and the author of a revolutionary e-book system, The TV-FREE System. Get in control of your TV watching and create the life you want, whether it is to create the body, the mind, the business, the family, or the community of your dreams.
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