Oh Really?

August 7, 2008

This week’s winner in the ‘how did they get money to research that’ contest comes from a recent study, which appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. I know you are going to struggle to believe this, but apparently watching too much TV is associated with poor health, in particular, lack of weight loss and an increased risk of excess weight/obesity. Oh really? The researchers looked at a group of young adults aged 26-36 and assessed them for waist size, TV viewing time, amount of food and drink consumed during TV viewing, and physical activity levels during leisure time.

I want to help you here, so be aware that if you want to reduce your waistline, then reduce your tv hours first. Apparently, women who watched 3 or more hours a day had an 89% increased risk of severe obesity compared to those watching 1 hour of TV a day or less. Unfairly, it seems to me, men get off more lightly – but that is still no excuse for hanging on to the remote. Men watching 3 or more hours of TV a day were more than twice as likely to have moderate obesity compared to those watching 1 hour of TV a day or less.

You might have thought this would be offset by what people did in their spare time, but it seems not to have been the case. Whether you rollerblade or sit and watch the world go by is not particularly influential when compared to how much tv you watch. There is also the fact that watching tv is also associated with snacking, not generally on carrot and celery sticks, so that could also be a factor. TV turns the mind off, which turns off the mind/body connection and the internal desire to eat healthy food, and someone who watches a lot of television is more likely to be influenced by advertisements, which generally encourage you to eat more of the sweets/crisps/chocolates rather than healthier options.


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