Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Excessive Television Watching Raises Risk of Obesity, Diabetes

April 8, 2003 (New York) -- Couch potatoes, beware! TV watching is strongly linked to weight gain -- and even light activity can go a long way to preventing the obesity and diabetes that commonly follows.

For the first time, new research provides proof of what many have suspected for years -- couch potatoes and weight gain go hand in hand. But the health risks don't just end there. The study also shows that too much TV watching dramatically raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In addition, the health risks associated with television watching were significantly greater than those associated with other sedentary activities, such as sewing, reading, or driving a car. Researchers say TV watching seems to be particularly effective at promoting weight gain because it not only reduces physical activity, but it also encourages people to eat more and eat unhealthy foods due to advertising and other food cues on TV.

"Couch potatoes don't move and eat more," says researcher Frank Hu, MD, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health. "This is the first scientific study to prove this relationship."

Hu presented the results of his study, which appears in April 9 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, today at a media briefing on obesity in New York City.

More weight-loss news from a special obesity issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Weight-Loss Programs Keep Pounds Off

Jury Still Out on Low-Carbohydrate Diets

Obese Children Suffer Like Cancer Kids

New Weight-Loss Drugs Pass First Tests

The study compared television viewing habits of more than 50,000 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study from 1992 to 1998. During the six years of follow-up, 7.5% of the women became obese and 1,515 women developed type 2 diabetes.

Obesity is generally defined as having a body mass index (BMI, a measurement of weight in relationship to height) of 30 or more, or weighing 20% or more than the recommended weight.

Researchers found that as TV watching increased, weight gain also increased -- leading to more obesity and diabetes. For each two-hour increase in television watching per day, there was a 23% rise in obesity and 14% increase in the risk of diabetes.

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...