Study: Mental Health Deteriorates With Increased Television

In many previous blogs I’ve reminded you of the dangers of television exposure to your children and teens. Now, here’s a warning for us adults: a new study has found that watching more than 4 hours of TV a day has an adverse effect on mental well-being. Here are the details from LifeSiteNews.com:

The study was conducted by Mark Hamer, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, and research associates Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, and Gita D. Mishra, PhD. It analyzed the association of leisure-time sedentary behavior in adults, measured by television and screen-based entertainment (TVSE) time, and mental health.

The researchers looked at mental health survey data of 3920 men and women between the ages of 35 and 65 years, from the 2003 Scottish Health Survey. The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and the mental health component of the 12-Item Short-Form Survey Instrument (MCS-12) were administered to obtain information on current mental health. Self-reported TVSE time, physical activity, and general health were also measured.

Approximately a quarter of the participants in the study engaged in at least four hours a day of watching screen-based entertainment.

After adjustment for age, gender, physical activity, smoking, alcohol, fruit and vegetable intake, the researchers found that participants with the highest TVSE level had the highest instances of mental health problems compared with participants in the group with the lowest TVSE level of less than 2 hours per day.

The report concludes that, while sedentary behavior is known to be an independent risk factor for physical health, mental well-being also deteriorates with more time spent in front of the TV.

“Sedentary behavior in leisure time is independently associated with poorer mental health scores in a representative population sample,” Dr. Hamer wrote.

An abstract, with links to the full text of the study, titled “Television- and Screen-Based Activity and Mental Well-Being in Adults” is available here.

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