So chances are if you’re 65 years old or younger, you grew up with at least one television in your home. While most of us have fond memories of a Saturday morning cartoon or a great movie, we more-than-likely also have a memory or two of our parents telling us that too much TV is bad for us. And you know what? They were right!
There have been a few interesting research studies completed recently that found some seriously negative health effects in children and young adults that spend a good deal of their free time watching TV. One such research study was published this year in the Journal for Bone and Mineral Research. This particular study evaluated the effects that excessive TV watching has on a person’s bone and mineral content. Over 1,100 children were a part of this research study and their weekly TV watching amounts were monitored at regular intervals from age 5, up until their bone and mineral content was measured at age 20. So what was the result you might ask? Those that watched an average of 14 hours per week of television had an overall lower bone and mineral content level. The issue with this is that having a lower bone and mineral content puts a person at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Osteoporosis is a disease affecting the bones, in which the bones become more and more porous and brittle over time. This occurs because the body pulls calcium from the bone in order to maintain calcium levels in the blood needed for muscle function. This being the case, a person with osteoporosis is at a much greater risk for fractures. The older that a person is the more serious and potentially life threatening bone fractures become.
Another research study found that excessive TV watching led to higher blood pressure in children evaluated in this project, which was published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. It is interesting to note that this same result was not found in children that spent an equal amount of time using the computer verses watching television. Keep in mind that this is a whole other area of concern. It is my guess that the computer is much more interactive than the television, yet I will say you should never opt for allowing children any type of screen time over other more constructive activities, such as playing outside, engaging in group activities, and helping out around the house.
Excessive television also leads to an incredible loss of time that could otherwise be used for more healthy and constructive activities. Considering that in the United States, the average person watches 4-½ hours of TV per day, it is not hard to imagine all of the things that a person could do with this time to benefit themselves in a positive manner. As www.raw-food-health.net points out in their article called “The Negative Effects of Television,” that’s approximately 2 months per year that a person spends watching television! Looking at this amount of time over the lifespan, a 65 year old person has spent close to 9 years of her life behind a TV screen. So if you do watch TV on a regular basis, please do not use the excuse that you cannot find time to exercise, read encouraging and self-help books, or work on other areas of self-improvement. Learn to start substituting your television time for these healthier activities gradually, and you might just find that you do not miss the TV at all.
It almost goes without saying that people that spend the average amount of time watching TV (remember a staggering 4-½ hours daily), are more-than-likely living a sedentary lifestyle, at least when outside of school or work. With a sedentary lifestyle comes a much higher risk of becoming overweight. Sadly, in the United States almost 30% of the population is classified as obese. Being obese causes a high risk of developing serious health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, spinal and other skeletal degeneration, and Type II Diabetes among others.
One last ill effect of excessive TV watching that is worth mentioning is the fact that watching violence on TV has been linked to increased aggressive behaviors in both children and adults. Psychologically speaking, watching violent television shows, movies, and even the daily news has been shown to increase anxiety and depression in viewers, and particularly in children can increase their feelings of fearing the world around them. This includes reports of being afraid that something bad will happen to them, which of course is not something that many of us want our children experiencing on a regular basis.
One thing I often reflect on personally is the fact that we are only allotted so much time here on this beautiful planet. That being the case, it is important that we take every opportunity we can to make the most of our life experience. Leading a Wellness Based Lifestyle, as I call it, takes practice and continual work. Learning to ditch those unhealthy habits is a part of the process, and just like it takes time to develop these bad habits, it will take time to create new and healthy habits. There is no better time than the present to begin the journey to a new and healthier you!
- Natural Awakenings November 2016. p.15
- The negative effects of television. raw-food-health.net
- Untitled web article. kidshealth.org
Dr. Chris, along with his wife Kelly, is the owner of Prana Chiropractic and Wellness Center in beautiful Fletcher, NC. Dr. Chris holds a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree, along with a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services. Dr. Chris is a Chiropractic Physician, Certified Yoga Instructor, and Certified Fitness Trainer. Dr. Chris specializes in Applied Kinesiology, Activator Methods, Kinesiology Taping, and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization. He is the author of Simply Wellness: Learning to Live a Wellness Based Lifestyle One Day at a Time, and the new book The Wellness Revolution: A Chiropractic and Natural Approach to Optimal Health, which are both available on Amazon. You can sign up for free health tips, special offers, and monthly newsletter at www.pranachiro.com and you can also find Dr. Chris on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pranachiro