Your TV Addiction Just Might Kill You
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Your TV Addiction Just Might Kill You


This post was originally published on June 30, 2014.

Uh oh —we’re all screwed. A new Spanish study reveals that people who watch three or more hours a day of TV are more than twice as likely to die in the next few years as those who watch little or zero TV at all.

Episodic Danger

We’ve all read the scary stats about sitting too long being dangerous for your health, but the new information indicates that for some reason, sitting around watching TV can be harder on your health than being perched at a desk or driving around in your car. Why, exactly, is anyone’s guess, but the effect was “seen in relatively young, healthy, affluent people.”

One of the doctors involved in the research suggests that folks avoid “long sedentary periods” and reduce their TV habit to no more than one or two hours a day. Don’t they realize that one of sober addicts’ very favorite pastimes is binge-watching a zillion TV series, both old faves (Twin Peaks, Law and Order: SVU and Thirtysomething) and new?! What the hell are we supposed to do with our bucket loads of homebody isolating-happy free time?

Step Away from the Screen

Oddly enough, the study volunteers originally seemed even healthier than the average Spaniard, but the fact remains: for every two extra hours of watching TV (more than one hour a day), the volunteers were 44 percent more likely to die from heart disease or stroke, 21 percent more inclined to die from cancer and 55 percent more likely to die from something else, regardless of their sex, age, smoking habits, weight and diet.

Why, though? Apparently that’s still TBD, but Dr. Nieca Goldberg, an NYU cardiologist who wasn’t involved in the study, says, “No one yet knows the answer, but if you’re the type of person who has a lot of time but spends it sitting in front of the television, you also have other sedentary behaviors, like not going outside too much or engaging in physical activity.”

<Shrugs Shoulders>

So what do you think, sober minions? Does this new research scare you, sadden you, piss you off? And more importantly, will it have any perceivable impact on your TV-watching habits? As for me, I highly doubt it will change my TV addiction at all, alas. Escapist-television 4 lyfe!

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.