An Australian study recently released a shocking finding: every hour of television a person watches shortens their life by an average of 22 minutes. Looking at the behavior of 11,000 participants, the Queensland scientists found that people who watched around 6 hours of TV each day lived an average of almost 5 years less than people who never watched TV. This research corroborates another recent study from Harvard.
The Harvard team found that TV watchers are at a significantly greater risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and early death than people who don’t watch TV.
Perhaps the most sobering statistic cited by the Australian team: if TV didn’t exist, the average life expectancy for women would be 1.5 years longer for women and 1.8 years longer for men.
Before you throw your TV out, consider this aspect of the finding: it’s probably not the TV itself that’s causing the problem- it’s the fact that because you’re watching TV, you’re not doing other, more active things. The researchers in both studies agree that watching a lot of TV is strongly correlated with reduced physical activity and poor eating habits. So if the only TV you watch is at the gym while you’re on a treadmill, this finding may not apply to you.
Not sure what to do now that your TV is off? Visit our Everyday brain fitness page to learn quick brain fitness tips and to learn more about how to choose daily activities that boost your brain instead of draining it.