Two recently released studies tell us what we already know, that we should reduce TV watching hours and get in a little more exercise. But these studies equate just how much you can add or subtract to your lifespan with TV and exercise habits.
A study from the University of Queensland estimates that 22 minutes are shaved off the average adult's expected lifespan per hour of TV watched per day. So if you watched TV from the moment you got home from work at 6 p.m. to midnight (six hours) every day, could shave off five years from your life.
As reported by International Business Times, the researchers used data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study, which has evaluated the TV watching habits of more than 11,000 adults over 25 years since 1999. They then compared viewing times to mortality rates.
The researchers say that watching TV is among the most common forms of sedentary behavior. Studies suggest that sedentary behavior is linked to obesity, high levels of blood fats and other heart disease risk factors.
While people should watch TV for the news and for entertainment, too much TV viewing is not good and people need to find alternative light activities, [lead researcher Lennert] Veerman told [the Australian Associated Press].
"They should watch the news and keep themselves informed, but if in the rest of their lives they are pretty active, I wouldn't tell them not to watch a movie," he said.
In contrast, a study reported by U.S. News found that even low activity for 15 minutes a day can be beneficial. Of the 400,000 people in Tiawan whose habits were tracked for eight years, those who reported even low activity, compared to those in the inactive category, were 14 percent less likely to die from any cause and added about three more years to their life.