Wednesday, June 15, 2011


There is a small interesting paper, published in the June 15th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, syudying the effects of watching TV on diabetes and heart disease. Dr Frank Hu ( Harvard School of Public Health ) and associates did a meta-analysis on 8 studies, studying the ill effects of TV watching on health. With the 8 studies, there were a total of 175,000 subjects, from US and Europe. They were asked how many hours they watch TV a day and this was correlated with the incidence of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and all cause mortality. They found that for every 2 hours of TV time, there is a 20% increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes, 15% increase in incidence of heart disease and a 13% increase in all cause mortality.
Whether this is due to the sedentary activity ( couch potato ), or the associated use of junk food, it is difficult to know. Somehow, working on the computer, was found to have no correlation.
Actually, this information we already know. What I was interested were the numbers. 13-20% in high. The average of us must be watching TV 2 hours a day ( also depend on your age. The younger ones less, and the seniors more ). In Europe ( especially in winter ), one could be watching TV for 4-8 hours, if not the whole night. TV watching is ranked the third most common daily activity after work and sleep.
There is a move to see how we could exercise while watching TV, or some exercise in between watching TV. Of course, cutting of junk food helps ( I am quite certain). It would appear the the invention of the remote control is bad for health, taking away even the little activity that our fathers and grand fathers use to do, in the good old days.
But then, today is the days of the "instant" culture.

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