Channel surfing shortens life

Not only are hours spent in front of the television hours you’ll never get back, they may be hours actually taken off your lifespan, researchers found.

According to a report in MedPage Today, every hour spent watching TV was estimated to lower life expectancy by around 22 minutes for those 25 and older, a loss of life similar to those with obesity, based upon an analysis of Australian lifestyle data by  J. Lennert Veerman, MD, PhD, of the University of Queensland, and colleagues.

The study was reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

In fact, folks who sit in front of the tube for an average of six hours a day may lose nearly five years compared with those who don’t watch TV, the researchers said.

These estimates are comparable to, if not higher than, those of other risk factors including tobacco use and obesity, Veerman and colleagues reported.

Although Australian and U.S. guidelines “recommend no more than two hours of screen time per day” for children, they wrote, “with further corroborative evidence, a public health case could be made that adults also need to limit the time spent watching TV.”