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TV Addicts Cut Years From Lifespan

Wednesday, 17 Aug 2011 08:32 AM


TV addicts could be taking years off their lives, according to a new study published Tuesday.

Researchers in Australia have found that watching TV or videos for an average of six hours a day could shorten the viewer's life expectancy by almost five years.

The investigators used data from a cross-sectional survey of 11,000 Australian adults who were aged at least 25 at the turn of the millennium.

The data were then checked against Australia's national population and mortality figures for 2008.

The researchers estimated that in 2008 Australian adults aged 25 and older spent 9.8 billion hours in front of the small screen, and that this time was associated with 286,000 years of life that ended prematurely.

Every single hour of TV watched after the age of 25 shortened the viewer's life expectancy by just under 22 minutes, according to an extrapolation of these figures.

In actuarial terms, an hour in front of the box had roughly the same effect on life expectancy as smoking two cigarettes.

In an extreme case, someone who spends a lifetime average of six hours a day watching TV — in the top one percent of the viewing population — can expect to live 4.8 years less than someone who does not watch TV, according to their calculation.

The study, headed by Lennert Veerman of the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, is published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The investigators point the finger at TV watching not because of the programs themselves but because of the dangers of physical inactivity that come from prolonged spells on the sofa.

A sedentary lifestyle is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, excess weight, and other health problems.

Copyright AFP




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