Let's face it, television is here to stay. And that's not a bad thing. We all need something that relaxes us, that eases the tension of the day and takes us away to amazing adventures and storytelling. But moderation is also important, and as get used to throwing ourselves on the TV couch, we slowly accumulate bad habits and even worse - bad health.
Watching too much television can bring about all kinds of health problems, from obesity to a shorter life span.
Here are 7 important reasons, backed by science, to cut down on your TV time:
1. Watching television is a cause of childhood obesity
In a study published last year in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine Journal, it was found that children who watch a lot of television after school are at a higher risk to consume more candy and sugary drinks on a daily basis, while eating less vegetables and fruit compared to kids that don't watch TV after school. The study was performed in the US and found that watching TV is linked to unhealthy eating and unhealthy food choices among children and teens, which increases the risk of obesity and chronic diseases throughout their lives.
2. Watching television increases the risk of untimely death
No one makes the claim that watching TV is healthy, but doctors and scientists are only now discovering HOW unhealthy it can be. From an analysis of 8 studies that examined the influence of television on our lifestyle and health, it was found that for just an additional 2 hours to the average 20 weekly hours of watching TV, the risk of type II diabetes goes up 20% and the risk of heart disease goes up 15%.
These findings are based on data collected for almost 10 years from 175,000 people around the world, and were published in the Journal of American Medical Association.
According to the editor of the study, Frank Ho, a Harvard professor of nutrition: "When you put all the studies together, you find that the findings cross different populations with the same results." He claims that watching too much TV comes at the expense of physical activity or even just walking and moving about. It also encourages unhealthy eating habits such as sugary drinks, snacks and processed food. In addition, prolonged sitting may cause changes in the metabolism, which may cause an increase in cholesterol levels and gaining weight.
3. Limiting TV time is an effective method of getting kids to lose weight.
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Behavior Education, it was found that prolonged watching of TV programs is an actual risk for teen obesity. The researchers claimed that parents can help their children enjoy a healthy life style if they just cut down on the TV hours.
Although the study showed a marked link between prolonged viewing among teens and weight gain, the same was not found for adults.
4. Watching television harms the quality of your sleep
In a study that included more than 20,000 American adults, it was found that almost 50% of people watch TV before going to sleep and that this viewing has a harmful influence on the sleep/awake system, which can cause various large risks - from depression to cancer.
5. Watching TV shortens your life span
Watching TV doesn't only affect our general health in the short range, but it can also affect our life span. By the same study performed in Harvard, it was found that for every extra 3 hours of watching television, the risk of dying, of any reason, goes up about 13% on average.
6. Watching TV disrupts the normal progression of relationships
The more you believe in the romantic relationships shown on TV, the lesser chance you will be happy yourselves. This according to a study published September 2012 in the Journal of Mass Communication and Society. The researchers checked 390 married couples and testes their amount of satisfaction, their expectations and commitment, as well as their viewing habits and how much trust they put in the romantic relationships shown on TV.
Research showed that the more the individual believes in small screen romance, the lower the satisfaction they derived from their own relationships.
7. Watching TV harms a man's fertility
Studies performed by Harvard University and published February of 2012, found that among men who watch TV for 20 hours or more (meaning - above average), there was a marked 44% decrease in sperm count. At the same time, it was found that men who exercise at least 15 hours a week have a sperm count about 73% higher than those who don't.
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