August 5

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How your TV viewing habits affect your weight


We probably already know, or at least have suspected as much. It’s official – people who spend more time in front of the telly find it harder to keep their weight under control.

US researchers looked at the data from 1422 subjects who were enrolled in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). They looked at adults who’d maintained a minimum weight loss of 13.6 kg for at least 1 year.

The university team wanted to see how the number of hours of TV viewing per week affected their ability to maintain weight loss. Furthermore, they could assess how increases in TV viewing hours over the year affected weight.

They looked at data when participants entered into the NWCR, and then at 1 year later.

Overall, these subjects spent far fewer hours watching TV than the US average. That is to say, just 12.4% of the participants watched more than 21 hours per week. This is in contract with a US national average figure of 28 hours per week.

Indeed, 62% of subjects reported watching 10 or fewer hours of TV per week at entry into the study.

The higher the TV-time at entry into the study, the greater the chance of weight gain during the following year.

Subjects who increased their average weekly TV viewing through the year were especially likely to gain weight. Though this, of course, could indicate an effect of weight gain rather than a cause. That is, participants may have watched more TV as they had put on weight and not the other way around.

The message is clear.

If you’ve worked hard to get in shape, avoid slumping in front of the TV for hours on end. It’s a good strategy for helping to keep weight off.

Watching TV isn’t all doom and gloom though.

Did you know, cartoons teach you to talk?

Krusty Burger sign from The Simpsons animated cartoon TV series

Animated series such as The Simpsons have characters who excel at networking with their friends, family and other characters.

Bonus fact – reality TV Unites You

It’s true, according to an Ohio State University study. Reality TV has five times as many examples of teamwork and responsibility-sharing than any other genre.

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Paul Stokes

About the author

Paul Stokes BSc (Hons) is a Certified Personal Trainer, Accredited Sports Nutritionist, qualified Exercise to Music Instructor, Precision Nutrition coach, Massage Therapist and teaches 8 of the Les Mills Group Exercise programs. He currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as a Wellness Coach, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to improve the quality of life of several hundred offshore workers.

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