Every Hour Of Television You Watch Shortens Life By 22 Minutes!

Researchers say that watching too much TV is as dangerous as smoking or being overweight (GETTY IMAGES)

Every hour spent watching television shortens the viewer’s life by 22 minutes, academics warn.

Anyone who spends six hours a day in front of the box is at risk of dying five years sooner than those who enjoy more active pastimes, it is claimed.

Researchers say that watching too much TV is as dangerous as smoking or being overweight, and that the “ubiquitous sedentary behaviour” should be seen as a “public health problem”.

Experts from the University of Queensland, Australia, write: “TV viewing time may have adverse health consequences that rival those of lack of physical activity, obesity and smoking; every single hour of TV viewed may shorten life by as much as 22 minutes.”

Referring to Australian and American guidelines that suggest children should spend no more than two hours a day in front of a screen, the academics conclude: “With further corroborative evidence, a public health case could be made that adults also need to limit the time spent watching TV.”

Although health campaigners – and parents – have long warned of the dangers of watching too much television, its effects on life expectancy have never before been calculated.

In a paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr J Lennert Veerman and colleagues looked at the results of a survey of 11,247 Australians taken in 1999-2000, which asked about time spent watching TV, and also mortality figures for the country.

They constructed a model in which they compared life expectancy for adults who watch TV to those who did not, and worked out that every hour spent glued to the screen shortened life by 21.8 minutes.

For those in the top 1 per cent of the population who watch six hours of programmes a day, they “can expect to live 4.8 years less than a person who does not watch TV”.

The researchers say that watching TV is among the most common forms of sedentary behaviour, along with sitting in cars.

“Because TV viewing is a ubiquitous behaviour that occupies significant portions of adults’ leisure time, its effects are significant for overall population health.”

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies, said: “Physical activity offers huge benefits and these studies back what we already know – that doing a little bit of physical activity each day brings health benefits and a sedentary lifestyle carries additional risks.

“That’s why the UK’s Chief Medical Officers recently updated their advice on physical activity to be more flexible, right from babyhood to adult life.

“Adults, for example, can get their 150 minutes of activity a week in sessions of 10 minutes or more and for the first time we have provided guidelines on reducing sedentary time.



  • I guess this means I shall die tommorrow. Goodbye, life, goodbye, sandcastles, goodbye computer, goodbye blog 😥

    This leaves me thinking how much damage a hour on the computer can do, I am guessing it does more damage than the tv.

  • I totally agree; TV does a great job on rotting the brain, after several hours a day. The only times – that I watch it for that amount of time – is when I’m sick. Luckily, that doesn’t happen that often:))Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:))

  • Soon it will be bad to breath lol

  • I think its less the fact of the actual tv watching but more that you’re doing an sedentary activity, and excessive amounts of lack of physical activity often results in that person being more likely to be overweight, and having all the many complications which shortens life such as diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Osteoarthritis etc etc! And that sitting down over not doing exercise results in that person not having the physical benefits which exercise gives. It would be interesting to see the results in comparison to watching of TV of other sedentary activities to see if its simply TV or general in activity which decreases our life expectancy

  • Is this an hour a day every day/ 6hours a day every day

  • How can someone say it will shorten someones life when they dont know how long that person will live in the first place. This test is not reliable at all and i feel the people who are researching into it have not thought about it properly. The one thing that no one can ever know in life is when we are going to die therefore this research means nothing.

  • Definite case of comparing heterogeneous groups…..I wonder which group are more likely to be obese, smoke, drink excessive alcohol etc….the ones who watch TV 6 hours a day, or the ones don’t watch any?!

    Oh my god the one’s who don’t watch any are more likely to live longer – what a suprise.
    The tv doesn’t kill you, it’s the habits/risks associated with the ‘type’ of people who watch tv for 6 hours a day!! Watch tv for a couple of hours , exercise and live a balanced life and you’ll be fine – do not sit there thinking “there goes another 22 minutes” – it doesn’t work like that.

    Terrible article.

  • Yey Im dying soon! no more pain in the neck thesis! I wanna watch tv til i fall asleep! So I wont wake up

  • Interesting fact! I doubt it applies, however, to people who exercise while watching television. So maybe instead of sitting on the couch and watching the tube, it would be much more beneficial to be on the treadmill.

  • Maybe if all tellys run off energy produced by a treadmill less people would spend so much time watching it!

  • What about using a computer?

  • Uh.. is that because TV shows are 22 minutes long?

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