How Dangerous is An Hour of Television?

After watching an hour long primetime tv show, do you ever ask yourself, “I wonder how bad that was for my health?” People tend to unanimously agree that watching an abundance of television for years can be detrimental to your health. But often time those studies are so abstract it’s hard to relate. But what if we could tell you, down to the hour, how bad TV actually was for you? Furthermore, what if we could compare an hour’s worth of tv watching to another very dangerous activity? (This might be a surprise to some.) After the jump there is a study that can do just that, but we have some questions of our own to add to the mix.
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A study by Australian scientists at the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland found a shocking result after studying some 11,000 adults and their tv watching habits. The scientists were able to deduce that watching an hour worth of television while remaining inactive could take a full 22 minutes off of one’s life. This is roughly equivalent to the damage smoking 2 cigarettes can do. Sure watching television can be unhealthy but should we really see it as a deadly behavior?

The study clarifies that it isn’t the actual act of watching TV that is detrimental to your health. Instead, it's the sedated, inactive state of your body that is the larger problem. But this instantly raised questions with us. If the act of watching TV wasn’t the issue, isn’t any activity dangerous if it requires you to be immobile? What about reading a book? Or working on the computer? Or sitting at school? Or sleeping? Are all of these daily tasks killing us? The unfair bias towards strictly watching TV makes the study seem suspect but no less alarming if true.

Regardless of just how dangerous watching TV or staying immobile for a prolonged period of time can be it is important to remind ourselves how crucial exercise is to a healthy lifestyle. In the same article, we’re told that 15 minutes of moderate exercise a day can add 3 years to your life.

Does this study make you reevaluate your TV watching habits? Or maybe it's a matter of finding exercises you can do simultaneously. I sense a future post in the works...

[Images: Flickr member SFB579 and Gael Martin licensed for use under Creative Commons]

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