An hour of TV slashes
lifespan by 22 minutes
Article page |
Health page |
Fruits and Vegetables
General Knowledge |
Heroes & Incredible peoples
Diseases and Remedies |
List of diseases
MELBOURNE: Spending your days in front of
television is as dangerous as smoking and obesity, a new Australian study
has said, warning it may shorten ones lifespan.
The findings were released by a University of Queensland team led by Lennert
Veerman of School of Population Health.
"If our estimates are correct, then TV viewing is in the same league as
smoking and obesity," said Lennert Veerman of School of Population Health,
University of Queensland.
"We've taken that study and translated it into what it means for life
expectancy in Australia given how much TV we view," he said.
His team estimated that every single hour of TV watched after age 25 was
associated with a reduction in life expectancy of around 22 minutes.
"Given that Australians watch on average around two hours of TV a day, that
would reduce life expectancy at birth by 1.8 years for men and about 1.5
years for women," he said.
Veerman said those small proportion of people who watch six hours of TV a
day would reduce their lifespan by 4.8 years. Veerman said that according to
conservative estimates, every cigarette took 11 minutes off a smoker's life
expectancy and compared the risk to that run by television viewers.
"At the individual level there are few things worse you can do than
smoking," he said.
But he said that while smoking rates were on the decline, almost everybody
watched TV, and TV viewing should be seen as posing a serious threat to
public health at a population level.
Veerman said that while the figures from his study were statistically
significant, there was a large degree of uncertainty about them because the
11,000 people involved in the study still constituted a small sample.
But he said other studies, for example from England and Scotland, had also
found TV viewing reduced lifespan.
He said a recent analysis of all such studies in the Journal of the American
Medical Association suggested the risk from TV viewing was lower than their
findings than in the University of Queensland study.
"If you apply these pooled results, then for every single hour of TV that
you watch after age 25 you could on average expect to lose five minutes of
"He said the differences in estimates may be attributable to different age
groups being studied, and a different interpretation of TV viewing.
His study only classified someone as watching TV if they were doing nothing
else - such as cooking or some other activity - at the time.
Last year, another Australian study, by David Dunstan and colleagues from
the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, found an hour of TV
viewing a day led to an 8 per cent increase in the risk of premature death.
( Courtesy: Times of India