Watching Too Much TV: 11 Big Health Risks and Effects + Infographic

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11 Big Health Risks and Effects of Watching Too Much TV
TV. It seems to be the activity of choice for most people these days. It’s mindless and, quite often, if you weren’t so tired, it would be incredibly boring. So, how much TV do you watch every day? Do you come home after a hard day at work only to turn on the TV and plonk yourself down in front of a reality TV show or murder mystery? Do you invite friends over simply to watch the TV?

Do you and your family spend your evenings together grouped around a plasma screen TV? Well, if the answer is yes, you are by no means alone. You see, that’s what the majority of people do when they get home from work. You see, watching TV isn’t exactly well, strenuous; it seems like the perfect activity after a difficult day in the office. However, do you actually stop to consider the negative impacts which watching TV can have on you? Like everything, TV is perfectly acceptable in moderation but, once you start to watch the screen too much well, the negative side effects may begin.

1. It Increases the Risk of Heart Disease
Over a period of six years, researchers tested the effects of watching a lot of television on 8800 Australian men and women who were all over the age of twenty five and had no prior history of heart disease. What the researchers found was quite shocking; for every single hour of television watched, the test subject’s risk of dying from cardiovascular disease rose by 18% whilst the risk of dying from cancer rose by 9 %.
In short, this means that, if you watch more than four hours of television per day, your chance of dying from cardiovascular disease increases by eighty percent over a six year period. Whilst it is not necessarily the action of actually watching television that causes this drastic increase in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, the sedentary lifestyle this leads to does.

2. The Disruption of Sleep
Right, we all know that, the television emits light. However, whilst this does indeed illuminate the screen, it can also have the undesirable effect of over stimulating our systems. This over-stimulation reduces the levels of the hormone melatonin, which is found in the brain. The levels of this hormone in the body usually increases as the light begins to fade in the evening. However, the reduction of this hormone means that, the body’s natural rhythm begins to change. Sleep patterns begin to become irregular and sometimes, chronic watchers can experience periods of extreme fatigue. There are also links between the reduced levels of melatonin and early puberty in girls.

3. The Diabetes Issue
For years, watching too much TV has been detected as a potential cause of diabetes. A 2003 survey of American women suggested to researchers that, the risk of diabetes increases by 14% with every two hours of TV viewed each day. Another survey also found that, men who watched over forty hours of TV each week were far more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those men who only watched one hour or less each week. Researchers say that this increase in risk is not just down to increased snacking and reduced activity whilst watching the television.

4. The Obvious One – Obesity
Basically, watching TV for a prolonged period of time can lead to a disruption to your metabolism as a result of muscle inactivity. We all know that, when you watch TV, you tend to well, eat a little more than normal. You usually eat more sugary or ‘unhealthy’ foods such as donuts. Research has shown that, for every two hours of TV per day, obesity rises by 23%.

5. Attention Deficit Disorder
The rapid changes of sounds and images on TV can lead to a decrease in attention span in young children, research in the 1970’s found. The University of Washington Child Health Institute found that, a three-year-old who watches two hours of television each day experiences a 20% increase in the likelihood of experiencing attention problems by their seventh birthday compared to a child of the same age who watches no television.

6. Increase in Asthma
A recent study in the UK, which studied the television habits of more than 3000 children from infants to eleven-year-olds found that, children who spent more than two hours in front of the screen each day had twice the chance of suffering from asthma than children who do not watch television.

7. Mindless Eating
The Stanford University of Medicine found that, watching TV leads to mindless eating. Come on, we all know just how good pizza and cookies tastes in front of your favourite sitcom or reality TV show. The mindless eating of junk food can, as most people will know, lead to obesity.

8. Mental Development
Research has also shown that, watching television for a prolonged period of time can lead to negative effects in the intellectual development of children. As a result, many respected pediatric institutions now discourage children under the age of two from watching TV at all whilst older children should watch no more than two hours per day.

9. Increase in Eye Strain
How much does it hurt to watch TV for a prolonged period of time, especially in a darkened room? When you come out of a cinema, your eyes sometimes feel odd and slightly sore or heavy, don’t they? This is because, focusing your eyes on one object for a prolonged period of time strains your eyes which can lead to further negative effects further down the line.
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10. Negative Behavior
Research has also shown that, children are more likely to exhibit aggressive or violent behavior after watching TV especially, if the show in question is violent or aggressive. Data collected from more than 3000 children who were all aged three showed that, children who were exposed to more television (whether directly or indirectly) increased the risk or exhibiting violent or aggressive behavior.

11. The Reduction of Social Interaction
TV isn’t a particularly social activity. If you think about it, talking whilst watching TV is like talking in the middle of a play. It’s immensely irritating. Studies have shown that, the television is quickly replacing social interaction with friends and family. Research has also found that this decrease in social interaction can lead to a variety of different phobias. Some films (particularly certain romantic comedies) can also lead to people being given an unrealistic expectation of life and, in particular, romance and social interaction. After all, how many people have experienced someone singing ‘Can’t Keep My Eyes off You’ at them whilst dancing on the school bleachers? Yeah, not many of us. So, in order to escape the sometimes horrific reality in which we live, we are choosing to live in a dream world; a world of flowers and romance. Is this positive? I think not.

Whilst it may seem difficult to curb or cure your TV addiction, once you’ve started to reap the positive rewards, you won’t regret it. Whether it’s preventing the increased risk of cardiovascular disease or just increased social interaction, switching off the box has a wide variety of positive effects. Whilst it is OK to enjoy the odd lounge in front of the television, it isn’t good to make it a regular event. After all, eating a tub of Ben & Jerry’s after a messy breakup is perfectly acceptable but, you wouldn’t eat ice cream every day for dinner, would you? So, turn off the screens and get out there and live for a change. You won’t regret missing Keeping up with the Kardashians every once in a while.

Watching Too Much TV: 11 Big Health Risks and Effects + Infographic
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