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Does Watching Too Much TV Really Cause Premature Death?
Posted in Diabetes Type 2 by Dr. Georgianna Donadio on Aug 17, 2011
Published in the June 15, 2011, Journal of the American Medical Association, a meta-analysis study was published by researches Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD and Anders Grontved, MPH, on the long terms effects of excess television viewing.

The researchers, from the Harvard School of Public Health, did a comprehensive analysis of studies on television watching over a 40 year period from 1970 up to 2011. In addition to large-scale American studies were similar studies from Australia and Europe. The studies linked television viewing with an increased risk for heart disease, type II mature onset adult diabetes and pre-mature death.

The outcomes of the analysis identified these specific parameters for daily TV watching and disease states:
- In excess of two hours per day increases risk for type II diabetes and heart disease

- In excess of three hours per day increases the risk of premature death

- An additional 2 hours per day increases the risk for all of these conditions by 20%

- An additional 4 hours per day increases the risk of all of these conditions by 15%

- An additional 6 hours per day increases the risk of all of these conditions by 13%

Summary: an individual who watches 8 hours of TV in a 24 hour period increases their risk by almost 50% for developing heart disease, type II diabetes and premature death.

The risk factors are believed to be due to in part to an increase in overall body weight, which can be the result of the additional “munchies” consumed during TV viewing, as well as the lack of activity and exercise. What would be interesting to know is if an individual is exercising on their home exercise equipment, and not eating snacks and treats while they watch TV, if the statistics would be similar.

I think it would be reasonable to conclude that it is not the TV watching, per say, that causes the increases in these disease states and early death, but rather the activities, or lack of, that the individual is involved in during the TV watching. Treadmill walking, an elliptical workout or bike spinning exercises during TV watching would not produce the same physical responses as eating snacks and being sedentary. It would appear to be a good idea to combine TV watching with an exercise routine to reduce risk and increase health.

Dr. Georgianna Donadio

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I THINK, people use the TV to unwind because of -- WORKING TOO MUCH!! SO PREMATURE DEATH, is actually a result of working too much.

What a life this is -- working all day, all of our life and when we're no longer good for the company (retirement), we're no longer good for ourselves, our hearing has changed, eyesight pretty bad, moving slower...
By energylost  Aug 22, 2011
By energylost  Aug 22, 2011
Guess I'm not in any danger! We got a new TV set that is so complicated, it requires THREE different remotes. I refuse to deal with anything more complicated than an on/off switch, so I NEVER turn it on. I prefer to read. (For some reason, this discourages the muchies, too.)

And from what I've seen, while my husband is flicking channels constantly in a vain effort to get away from commercials, there doesn't seem to be much on that's worth watching anyway.
By madbookworm  Aug 19, 2011
We can't eat, we can't drink, GOD KNOWS we can't smoke, NOW we can't watch TV. This fear mongering appears to be some sort of CONTROL ISSUE. If you make people AFRAID they are too preoccupied to notice what you're doing IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESS. Get a LIFE Donadio. If I thought watching too much TV would kill me I'd watch day and night non-stop.
By Ellzeena  Aug 19, 2011
30yrs back, my mother said to me "too much tv can rot the brain, and a rotting brain gives you a rotten body". Since my mom is a fan of braininess, the kid in me never made that mistake quite as much again coz I wanted to show her that I was very brainy. Her style strengthened me and I landed an education based on scholarships. I also ended up maturing to not need a tv, and 'live' instead. Go figure....
By Firehazard  Aug 18, 2011
baloney....Who watches TV 24-7? If you do you have some pretty big issues already. Watching TV does not give you heart problems and type 2 diabetes ...What you eat and to little exercise do that. Come on must we blame everyone and every thing for our problems or should we take responsibly for our own lives.
By elainebr  Aug 18, 2011
An 18 month old is sitting watching 4-5 hrs of tv a DAY? Seriously? Play with your kid...involve them in learning activities, don't just use the tv as a babysitter! Babies need human interaction and fun toys that keep them learning! too many parents just plop their kids in front of the tv these days. IN MY OPINION.
By allwayslively  Aug 17, 2011
Dear doc, would you write an article about parents who smoke to much marijuana and the effects it has on there children when they blow it in the childs face to keep them from crying and all the side effects as well.
By bunch  Aug 17, 2011
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