How Much Is Too Much When Watching TV?

Your mother probably told you this, but you thought she was just making it up. Actually, over the past 40 years, a number of studies have shown negative health effects related to watching TV for hours each day. A recent addition to this collection of studies is research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.1

Researchers did what is called a meta-analysis. They combined the results of several smaller studies to create one larger, more reliable picture. Their meta-analysis covered nearly a quarter of a million people and more than 1.3 million patient-years of follow-up.

They found that watching an average of two hours of TV per day increases the chance of getting type 2 diabetes by 20%. Two hours of TV per day increases the chance of having cardiovascular disease by 15%. Most alarmingly, people who watched two hours of TV per day were 13% more likely to die during the studies.

Of course, researchers pointed out that the TV doesn’t directly have negative health effects. It’s the fact that people tend to eat less healthy foods and remain sedentary during television viewing. So if you were looking for motivation to snack healthy or do something active, here’s a little more motivation to have fun and live healthy, longer.


  1. Anders G, Hu F. Television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. JAMA.  305(23); 2448-2455.
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