Watching TV Instead of Your Waistline?
Excessive Television Watching Raises Risk of Obesity, Diabetes
WebMD News Archive
Although other sedentary activities also increased the risk of
weight gain and diabetes, their impact was much smaller than the women's
television viewing habits. For example, each additional two hours of sitting at
work or driving a car was associated with a 5% increase in obesity and 7%
increase in diabetes.
But the researchers found that even light activity can fight
weight gain. The study showed that for each hour of brisk walking per day the
women did, there was a 24% reduction in the risk of obesity and a 34% drop in
Hu says those findings suggest that public health campaigns
should not only promote increasing physical activity but they should also
recommend a decrease in sedentary activities, like television watching.
"TV watching is the most prevalent and pervasive sedentary
behavior in the U.S.," says Hu. "It's second only to the time we spend
Studies show the average American male spends an average of 29
hours per week watching television and the average American woman spends 34
hours per week watching television.
"There should be an upper limit for television watching. No
more than 10 hours of TV watching per week, in addition to at least 30 minutes
of walking per day," says Hu.
Researchers estimate that 30% of new obesity cases and 43% of
new diabetes cases could be prevented by adopting that kind of relatively
active lifestyle that limits television watching to less than 10 hours per week
and incorporates moderate exercise, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking per
"We're not talking about running marathons, but just taking
a walk around the park near your house can go a long way in reducing the risk
of obesity and type 2 diabetes," says Hu.