August 17, 2011 by Tyler (Editor), under Ideas.
University of Queensland researchers in Australia studied life expectancies versus TV consumption and determined that, on average, every hour of television watched after age 25 cut about 22 minutes from the expected lifespan.
To be fair, the study only provides an observational correlation, but it tracked 11,000 participants, so it was a fairly large sample. The findings are not that the TV itself shortens your life. Rather, it’s simply that people who watched six or more hours of television per day lived, on average, 4.8 years shorter. The study noted that the increased mortality rate was comparable to that of other major chronic disease risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.
From here, it’s up to us to make our own assumptions. Hours in front of the TV limits the amount of time we’re physically active. It likely also increases the chances we’re snacking on crappy foods. And, presumably, you’re sitting while you’re watching all that telly, which is even worse, making these exercises even more important.