Wow! The circle of life…
1990, in an Australian city (Townsville, Queensland), I started teaching my children about the effects of too much television. Little did I know (I’ve been living in Canada since 1994), that Researchers in Queensland, Australia now have proof that television reduces life expectancy!
Not only are hours spent in front of the television hours you’ll never get back, they may be hours actually taken off your lifespan, Researchers found. Every hour a 25 year old (or older) watches television, is estimated to lower their life expectancy by nearly 22 minutes, Dr. J. Lennert Veerman, University of Queensland and Colleagues reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. “Those who spend an average of 6 hours per day in front of TV are expected to live 5 years less than those who did not watch TV.”
They created a lifestyle data table using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle study, which was begun in 1999 with 11,247 participants 25 and older. In 2008, participants watched almost 10 billion hours of TV. Researchers estimate these hours were associated with a loss of 286,000 life years for that year alone. Researchers reported that this compares to, “…tobacco use estimated at a loss of 178,000 life years in 2008, not getting enough exercise at 127,000 lost life years and obesity 109,000 life years.”
“TV viewing is a public health problem.” They noted that, without TV viewing, the life expectancy at birth of Australian men in 2008 would have been 1.8 years higher than observed; for women it would have been 1.5 years higher. Also that, “Sociodemographic groups who have a high prevalence of TV viewing — those with lower levels of education, those living outside of state capital cities, and the unemployed — may be particularly at risk.”
Conclusions – TV viewing time may be associated with a loss of life that is comparable to other major chronic disease risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.
Makes you rethink the theory – “No more than 2 hours of screen time per day for children!”