Death, diabetes, and heart disease risk increase with only two hours of TV a day

In the past I’ve told you that children younger than two years of age should have NO screen time, while children over two should have less than two hours per day. Now we may have to extend this advice to adults.

There’s a very scary study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which reports that sitting in front of the television for prolonged lengths of time has long-term adverse effects has come from a new review of studies showing a direct relation between the amount of television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.

The review showed that for every TWO HOURS of television watched daily:

  • the risk of diabetes increased by 20%,
  • the risk of cardiovascular disease increased by 15%, and
  • the risk of all-cause mortality increased by 13%.

Coauthor of the study, Dr Frank Hu, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA, told HeartWire, “TV watching is worse than other sedentary activities in that it is particularly passive. It has a lower energy expenditure compared with driving, reading, working at a computer, etc.”

He also maintains that watching television is associated with unhealthy eating behavior.

“People tend to eat when they are watching television, and they also tend to eat junk food and sugary beverages rather than healthier food. This might be related to the large amount of commercials for junk food, which increase the appetite, or it may just be due to boredom. Junk food is more readily available and therefore suitable for eating in front of the television. Perhaps if people were not watching television, they would be more inclined to make themselves a proper healthier meal.”

Here are some of my blogs on “screen time” from the last year:

Also, I have a number of blogs with practical tips about TV and kids:

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