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The Undeniable Link Between TV and Obesity

by Dr. Gerard Cassista

There are two new studies that once again demonstrate that limited TV time is essential to losing weight for both children and adults. Children and adults who watch too much TV tend to be inactive at an unhealthy level.

The first study looked at 5000 people who had lost and kept off at least 30 pounds for more than six years. It found that most who fit these criteria watched fewer than 10 hours of TV in a week, much less than the national average of 28 hours per week. Those who increased their TV viewing were more likely to gain back the weight.

Another study looked at the walking habits of over 50 children aged 10 to 17. It showed that the children were taking an average of about 7,900 steps a day, less than two-thirds of what a healthy amount would be. The study indicated that one reason for this was that the children were watching more than two hours of TV a day instead of being active. The number of steps the children took dropped with age, especially after age 13.

These findings should not surprise anyone, they seem like common sense. You might not know, however, that kids in the U.S. watch an average of 15,000 to 18,000 hours of television between the ages of 2 and 17 as compared to 12,000 hours of school! Keep in mind that these figures don’t even take into consideration how many hours children and adults spend in front of the TV playing video games! Those hours are usually in addition to the TV watching hours! This is really unfortunate for so many reasons. Not only does TV decrease your child’s (and your own) activity level, but it exposes them to commercials promoting WORTHLESS PROCESSED FOODS! What do you think happens when a child or adult watches more ads about junk food than hours learning in school? If you guessed that these people start wanting more of that kind of food or snack, then you are right! If that is not bad enough, Harvard researchers have found that for every hour of television you watch per week, you are likely to spend an extra $200 on all kinds of things. Watching for 5 extra hours a week (two sitcoms a night) raises your yearly spending by about $1,000. Everyone thinks they should have servants, limos and huge houses like the people they see in TV shows. Seeing all this over and over again can give a distorted reality about their individual success or lack of success and lead to depression. Seeing all the murder, CSI and violent shows also can lead to a distorted reality that violence is normal! I say, except for watching the Patriots, (can you tell this is my favorite) just get the TV out of the house and get outside and play!

The above statistics were taken from Dr. Mercola’s web site, He maintains the worlds largest natural health site.

Dr. Cassista is a Dracut Chiropractor and public health speaker and educator available for your group or organization.

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