If you thought TV was bad for your brain a new study says it’s doing just as much damage to your heart! In fact this study says that if you watch TV for six hours a day you may be shortening your life by five years. Five years! That’s amazing. Those Kardashian girls are killing you in ways you hadn’t even imagined.
Now this is not some anti-TV nutcase just trying to get you to do something crazy like read books or go for a walk, these are well regarded Australian scientists who have their paper in a respected medical publication – the British Journal of Sports Medicine - and the researchers say that just sitting there watching TV for hours at a time is as dangerous for you as smoking or not doing any exercise (which come to think of it would fall under the sitting watching TV banner as well, but I digress…….)
Now, there’s lots of things I could write about the methodology they used to come up with their findings but that’s rather dry and you can read it if you go to the study itself. What is interesting is that they calculated that in 2008 Australian adults (25 years and older) watched 9.8 billion hours of TV a year.
Now, while allowing for the fact that Aussies are sports mad and that a single cricket game can last five days that’s still a heck of a lot of TV. It makes me wonder how many bad sitcoms did people watch, how many dreadful reality shows, how many episodes of Australian Idol etc.
One hour more = less
Here’s an even scarier statistic from the researchers: each hour of TV watched after the age of 25 reduced the life expectancy of the viewer by just under 22 minutes. In TV terms, that means each episode of ‘Glee’ means your life is reduced by an episode of ‘Two and a half Men’.
Really, fun as ‘Glee’ is, is it worth missing 22 minutes of Charlie Sheen.
Or, to put it another way. Is it worth watching that re-run of Law and Order (for the 12th time) if it means missing out on playing with your kids, your grandkids, your neighbors kids, your wife/husband/partner/lover/cousin/uncle/goldfish? Or just reading a book. Or just going for a walk. Or just hanging out with people you like who have interesting things to say?
Comparable to smoking
Previous studies show that smoking one cigarette can, on average, reduce your life expectancy by 11 minutes. That’s the same as watching half an hour of TV. So, if you are smoking while you watch TV you might as well gather the family around now, coz you ain’t got long to go and you’ll be lucky to make it to the end of this season’s ‘Dancing With The Stars’
We all can make choices about how we live our lives. And with hundreds of TV channels and On Demand and Apple TV we clearly have a dizzying array of choices of what to watch. I guess the only question now is would we rather watch life on TV or live it ourselves.