Every Single Hour You Spend Watching TV Reduces Your Life Expectancy by 21.8 Minutes, Study Says

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

tv shortens life

Your mother probably used to yell from the kitchen, “turn off that idiot box!” What great advice, for more reasons than she realized.

We are all fully aware that a sedentary lifestyle is not a healthy one.

The more time you spend sitting, the worse for your health.


It is all too easy—and has become a habit for many—to turn on the television in the morning when we get up and have it on until (or even as) we go to sleep.

There’s TV in stores and restaurants. Watching television has become the national pastime. And it’s killing us. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded:

“The amount of TV viewed in Australia in 2008 reduced life expectancy at birth by 1.8 years…for men and 1.5 years…for women. Compared with persons who watch no TV, those who spend a lifetime average of 6 h/day watching TV can expect to live 4.8 years…less. On average, every single hour of TV viewed after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8…min…TV viewing time may be associated with a loss of life that is comparable to other major chronic disease risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.”[1]

There isn’t one reason why TV advances mortality—it’s a complex pathology.

  • Time spent while watching means less time being physically active.
  • TV has a depressant effect, causing lethargy and apathy.
  • People are likely to crave the food advertised on television, all of which is processed or alcoholic.
  • Often, people eat while watching; the distraction causes overeating.
  • Time spent watching means less social interaction, which is important for overall health as well.

More specific research associated watching TV with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and “all-cause mortality”:

“The dose-response analysis revealed a linear increase in risk with the number of hours per day of TV viewing for both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease; the association with all-cause mortality appeared stronger with TV viewing time of greater than 3 hours per day.”[2]

Yet another study on television’s effect on children published by the American Academy of Pediatrics is equally disturbing:

“Research has shown primary negative health effects on violence and aggressive behavior; sexuality; academic performance; body concept and self-image; nutrition, dieting, and obesity; and substance use and abuse patterns.”[3]

Further, increased and consistent TV viewing has been correlated with depression.[4] There are indications that watching TV actually lowers your IQ and hampers verbal development and critical thinking.[5]

It has become increasingly clear that, while modern technology and electronics can enhance our lives and the availability of information can be overwhelming and addictive, too much works against us. If you want more healthy time to enjoy the real things in life, turn off the idiot box.