It’s bad enough that watching network TV “news” broadcasts may turn you into a leftist who sends money to Bernie Sanders, now USA Today warns watching can be deadly, too: “Your TV habit might be killing you.” And they don’t mean changing channels while your feet are still soaking in Epsom salts.
“A growing body of evidence links not just sitting in general but TV viewing in particular with all sorts of health problems. Those include obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and, yes, premature death.”
Although I must admit I came close to dying of boredom while watching Wolf Hall, football makes my metabolism feel quite peppy. Yet that thrill of watching your favorite team score a touchdown has no beneficial health impact.
Frank Hu, who hectors a lazy public from Harvard, warns TV “is really a serious health hazard.” Now understand Hu hasn’t actually done any research work himself, but he has read other scientist’s studies — presumably while walking behind a treadmill desk — and Hu assures us the news is mostly bad.
Before Hu ruined my day I was mildly concerned with the possibility that my TV, microwave oven, and the other ubiquitous electronic devices in the house might be broadcasting harmful microwaves, but it appears the real problem is TV radiates calories.
An Australian study “found that increases in TV time were linked with increases in waist size, blood pressure and blood glucose in both men and women and increases in harmful blood fats in women.” And those results weren’t just for people watching cooking shows.
These studies also debunked a thought I’d had earlier when I wondered if the feeling of control you get while watching time–shifted TV and fast–forwarding through restaurant commercials might be beneficial to your health, but no: “each two-hour increase in daily TV viewing was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, a 13 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease and a 13 percent increased risk of death from any cause – translating to 104 extra deaths each year for every 100,000 people.”
So what do presumably thin academics recommend for the rest of us?
There are three main guidelines:
- Reduce your daily TV watching to a maximum of two hours a day. This is tough to do during football season, but if you can average it with the hours you don’t watch during soccer season it seems possible.
- During commercials you can imitate Grandpa and wander around the house muttering about where you put your car keys or do a regimen of running in place.
- Ban eating in front of the TV. Getting up to get food is a mild form of exercise and even better if you don’t really eat.
And if you really want to show Brian Williams the luster is off the relationship, you can go cold turkey and try a week without any TV at all.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.