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Health Choice: Turn off the TV or Develop Diabetes

Health Choice: Turn off the TV or Develop Diabetes

With TV time at an all-time high these days, for both kids and adults, we are seeing some severe health consequences as a result.  Second only to the amount of time spent working and sleeping, TV time takes up most of our free time, and that holds true for all industrialized nations like as Europe and Australia.

Europeans spend 40% of their free time in front of the tube, and Americans take 45% of their free time to watch their favorite TV programs. Australians top the list with 50% of their free time spent goggly-eyed in front of the television. These numbers are all self-reported, and researchers know that most people under-report an activity with a percieved ‘negative’ health implication.

But let’s get real.  With a busy day behind you, it’s normal to want to relax and veg out on the couch. And most of our couches happen to be in front of TVs.  The problem does not lie with taking time to watch your favorite re-runs, or your popular star-dancing show, or even with idolizing Americans.

Rather it lies with staying there in front of the telly too long.

Researchers have proved that sitting in front of the television for extended lengths of time has a few really negative outcomes.   In fact, it only takes about 2 hours to increase your risks of diabetes type II, heart disease, and yes, even death. 

Two measly hours each day increases your risk of getting diabetes type II by 20%! And your chances of getting heart disease improve by 15%.  And the real kicker is that the average American watches 5 hours of TV each and every day!  This is simply excessive.  And dangerous to your health.

With the availability of satellite television, hundreds of channels, and movies and HD technology, we are exchanging our health for too much entertainment. Remotes put the most exciting and wonderful entertainment opportunities right at our fingertips!

This review was published in JAMA,and it clearly showed that TV watching is worse than other sedentary activities like driving, reading, or working at a computer because you spend less energy sitting there tubing it up.

Pass the Popcorn Please

Another thing that makes TV time so harmful, and far worse than other sedentary activities, is the snacking, crunching, and munching that goes right along with it. Throw a sugar-sweetened beverage into that mix and you are drastically upping your odds for both diabetes and heart disease with every sip.

A vicious cycle often occurs with too much TV watching, as people are more likely to pack on a few pounds which makes exercise more difficult for them, and they are less likely to get off the couch and move around, and more likely to surf those channels some more.

A simple solution? Move your chaise over and put a treadmill in its place. Try rotating the TV so you can watch while preparing dinner. Get up during the commercials and stretch, or do household chores like laundry or cleaning. Much on carrots and hummus when you are reaching for something to crunch.

Overall, the review proves that too much time in front of the TV is more harmful to our health than we actually realize.  Try trimming your TV time, and it may also help trim your waistline.  Time spent with family and friends, as well as time nurturing your favorite hobby or preparing healthy foods can take you far on a journey toward a longer, healthier life.

To learn more, please call our office at 239-249-3647.

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