Connacht Tribune - Opinion Piece
Telly takes years off your life – and not in a good wayOctober 24, 2012 - 8:18am
The Australians have worked out that every hour of television you watch is reducing your life expectancy by 22 minutes, meaning couch potatoes will be departing this world almost five years ahead of schedule.
Just where, for the purposes of this study, you find someone who watches no television at all is another day’s work and equally you’d wonder if the extra 4.8 years you’d live would be worth the sacrifice of never seeing the telly at all.
But however they managed it Australian researchers have found that, for every hour of television viewed by a person over the age of 25, their life expectancy is reduced by 22 minutes.
This was on the basis of an average six hours viewing per day, compared to a person who watches no television.
Using data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, the researchers generated life-expectancy tables based on the viewing habits of average Australians.
And the end result suggests that watching the telly might be up there with physical inactivity, smoking and obesity in terms of shortening your life expectancy.
Of course a lack of physical activity goes hand in hand with watching the box, because the last bit of exercise you got disappeared when they invented the remote control.
Equally, people probably eat more buns when the telly is on, and while smoking should be frowned on it any circumstances, it is something that fans of the goggle box often do.
So perhaps the telly is only the vehicle of mass destruction – it’s what people do while they’re watching it that is really killing them.
One might also presume that watching Galway in the All-Ireland Hurling Final can take more out of you than an evening of Winning Streak...unless your mother has just won a new Ford Focus or a foreign holiday on it.
The Aussies seem to have it in for the telly, because another study from Down Under last year found an hour of TV a day led to an eight per cent increase in the risk of premature death.
Who knew it could be so dangerous?
This latest research shows that, in 2008, Australians aged 25 and older watched a total of 9.8 billion hours of TV that year alone.
The average American spends 35 and a half hours a week watching TV – but then most of them spend the same again eating big buns and bagels.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.