COUCH POTATOES who spend six hours a day in front of a TV are at risk of dying five years earlier than those who stay more active, a new Australian study has found.
The study, carried out by academics from the University of Queensland, found that watching too much TV is so unhealthy that it rivals smoking and morbid obesity in terms of the health damages it can cause.
“Every single hour of TV viewed may shorten life by as much as 22 minutes,” the Daily Telegraph bluntly quotes the study as saying.
“With further corroborative evidence, a public health case could be made that adults also need to limit the time spent watching TV”, it added, referring to the prominence of advice which only mentions TV viewing among the young.
One Yale academic explained to Healthday that while watching TV did not directly shorten lives, but rather led to health problems in other indirect ways.
“The more time we spend watching TV, the more time we spend eating mindlessly in front of the TV, and the less time we spend being physically active,” Dr David Katz said.
In turn, Katz added, less exercise “means greater risk for obesity, and the chronic diseases it tends to anticipate -notably diabetes, heart disease and cancer.”
The Australian noted that the research complemented a study published in The Lancet yesterday, in which it was found that just 15 minutes of physical activity every day could extend someone’s life by three years.
The study is published in the latest issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.