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Not just one, but two recent studies have concluded that watching TV can have serious repercussions. If you’re over the age of 25, every hour spent in front of the TV cuts 22 minutes off your lifespan. That can equate to five years’ worth if you watch TV six hours a day—which some people actually do. According to the Daily Mail, the average Briton spends four hours a day in front of the TV and Americans spend an average of five hours a day mesmerized by television.
According to the authors:
“TV viewing time may be associated with a loss of life that is comparable to other major chronic disease risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.”
In another meta-analysis, published earlier this summer in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers suggest that spending just two hours a day in front of the TV raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease by 20 percent. Add another hour to your viewing time, and you also significantly raise your risk of premature death from any cause.
Now, when you consider that an astonishing 90 percent of American children under age 2 watch TV regularly, then the damage can really start adding up over time. Many kids also have TVs in their bedrooms, which adds to the problem. It’s a no-brainer that if your child has a TV in their room, they’re going to spend more time watching it, but one study really made that point clear, showing that having a TV in the bedroom increased viewing time by nearly nine hours a week.
I personally recommend not letting young infants watch TV, and strictly limiting viewing time for both children and teens—and banning TVs from your child’s bedroom (which would also reduce the amount of electromagnetic fields they’re exposed to throughout the night). But the featured study clearly shows that TV viewing will likely cut your life short regardless of your age.