3 myths about television and your health

October 5, 2015

Sure, your eyes won't go square if you watch TV for too long, but it can cause some health issues. Here's some facts about our health and our TV habits.

3 myths about television and your health

1. Sitting too close doesn't affect eyesight

  • The classic danger linked to excessive TV watching was sitting too close would ruin your eyesight.
  • Sixty years of ignoring the warnings have proven the eyesight dangers to be a myth, as any ophthalmologist will confirm.

2. TV turns your brain to mush

  • Many concerned parents and assorted curmudgeons were convinced that watching too much TV would turn your brain to mush.
  • No autopsy has ever revealed the presence of actual mush in a chronic TV watcher's brain. But that was never the real issue. Brain development and health was.
  • We do know that stimulating the brain through more challenging pursuits than TV, such as learning to play an instrument or doing crossword puzzles, may help maintain cognitive function.

3. Watching TV is harmless

  • While it won't destroy your brain, or your rods and cones, it can do a job on your waist and thighs.
  • An expanding waistline is the worst danger yet confirmed to come from excessive TV watching.
  • A recent study found that adults who watched more than two hours of TV a day were about 27 percent more likely to be obese than those who watched less than one hour a day.
  • Not surprisingly, the most avid TV watchers were also more likely to have diabetes and high blood pressure, too.
  • A study found that for each two hours a day spent watching TV, women's risk of obesity increased by 23 percent and risk of diabetes raised by 14 percent. This was even if they exercised as much as women who watched less TV.
  • We also know that watching TV spurs snacking, which isn't always healthy.

What can I do?

Here are some tips on how to watch TV and stay active:

  • Try to watch an average of less than 30 minutes of TV a day. If you have a few days of heavy viewing, get some TV-free days.
  • Make TV time exercise or chore time. Watch TV while you're walking on a treadmill or ironing clothes.
  • Keep your home free of snacks that beg to be eaten while you're watching a show.
  • When a fast-food commercial comes on, change the channel.

It turns out some of our initial worries about TV proved false, but that doesn't mean TV is healthy. Remember to limit your time and stay active.

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