Sunday, March 7, 2010
You’ve accepted the idea that TV makes you dumber. You know there are lots of more edifying things you could be doing with your time than cheering on the contestants on “Survivor.”
And unless you’re working out to an exercise video, you know those hours sprawled out in front of the screen are going to make you fatter — not to mention the impact of all that junk food you’ve been tempted to scarf down during the commercial breaks.
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But you’ll be surprised to learn the host of other bad things TV can do to you.
1. TV makes you deader.
TV-viewing is a pretty deadly pastime, research suggests. No matter how much time you spend in the gym, every hour you spend in front of the TV increases your risk of dying from heart disease, according to a recent report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Australian researchers studied 8,800 adult men and women for an average of six years and found that every hour spent in front of the TV translated into an 11 percent increase in the risk of death from any cause, a 9 percent increase in the risk of death from cancer and an 18 percent increase in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. So, compared to people who watched less than two hours of TV a day, those who watched four or more hours a day had a 46 percent higher risk of death from any cause and an 80 percent higher risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. And that was true even among people who didn’t smoke, were thin, ate healthy diets and had low blood pressure and cholesterol.