By Larraine Roulston:
When I was growing up, TV had just begun filtering into almost every home. Like all kids my age, I had my favorite shows; but beyond that, I’d hear my mom yell out, “Too much sitting will ruin your posture and eyesight!” Even during TV’s infancy, when there were many fewer shows, and the early risers and nighthawks would be subjected to a test pattern, it seemed that parents who allowed limited TV entertainment were not far off the mark. Since that time, the advent of cable and increasingly popular “binge watching’’ have prompted studies to prove that there are many health implications of extensive TV viewing. Although television has become even more inviting and captivating, addiction to it can lead to the following detrimental conditions, as noted by Robert Wieder, writing for the Calorie Lab blog:
OBESITY: The first observation would be obesity, which was also deduced by research conducted at Harvard more than 25 years ago. If you are just sitting, you are not burning calories by either working or playing. As a rule, snacking on junk food goes hand in hand with idle viewing. You are subjected also to the least healthy food commercials. In addition, nutritionist Brian Wansink and fellow peers who conducted a study regarding cooking show watchers, noticed that there was an increased Body Mass Index of those who were testing new recipes from TV, while those who gathered food ideas from print, the Internet or friends did not gain the extra 11 pounds on average.
LUNGS: For two years, a Japanese study recorded the viewing habits of 86,000 people and monitored their health for another 19 years. Their research showed that, for every two hours a day spent watching TV, the risk of developing a blood clot in the lungs increased. For viewers who watched more than five hours a day, the risk doubled.
DIABETES: At the University of Pittsburgh, researchers found that each hour spent in front of the TV will increase your chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 3.4%. What seems astounding is that they report a 20% jump in the risk for every two additional hours of TV viewing per day.
SITTING: Various studies indicate that your stationary posture while sitting in a trance-like state watching TV is less healthy than reading, relaxing, being a vehicle passenger or working at a desk.
HEART: For every two hours of television, the American Medical Association in its AMA analysis determined that the risk of heart disease increases by 15 percent.
MENTAL HEALTH & IQ: Many studies have reported that a child’s verbal IQ is lowered in proportion to the amount of time spent in front of the “idiot box.”
LESS SEX: A television screen in the bedroom will result in the romantic side of your life diminishing by half.
Here are 12 ways to curb your TV addiction. In short, they include
- Having only one TV in a designated room,
- Removing your TV from being the focal point of your living space,
- Setting yourself personal tasks before viewing,
- Watching the clock or set a timer to avoid prolonged viewing,
- Tossing away or hide the remote control,
- Investigating other types of relaxing hobbies, and
- Restricting television entertainment to evenings only, and
- Eliminating cable or satellite, and using television only for DVD or VHS movies.
- Infants and toddlers should not have any screen time. Limit children to 2 hours of TV watching a day.
- Go cold turkey — even for a week — and see how you feel.
Larraine authors illustrated children’s adventure books on composting and pollinating. Visit www.castlecompost.com