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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Dr. Murray Feingold: Watch too much TV, risk an early death

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  • A great deal of media attention has been given to the deleterious physical and emotional consequences of children watching too much television. However, a recent article reminded us that adults who watch too much TV are also at a greater risk of having health problems.
    In the study, more than 13,000 individuals who were in good health, were followed for a period of eight years. The purpose of the study was to determine if certain sedentary life activities were hazardous to a person’s health.
    The three sedentary activities were driving, working on a computer and watching TV. Many people, because of their employment, need to drive a great deal or work at a computer. This is usually not true for watching TV, which is more of a leisure activity.
    During the eight years of the study, 97 people died from various causes.
    Results showed that adults who watched three or more hours of TV each day had twice the risk of an early death than those who watched one hour or less of TV.
    The researchers found that the amount of time people spent driving a car or working on a computer did not have an effect on the death rate due to any cause.
    Therefore, of the three sedentary activities in this study, only watching TV had some effect on a person’s death rate.
    If the findings of this study are true, a number of questions can be raised. One is, although all three of these activities are sedentary, what is it about watching TV that makes it detrimental to one’s health?
    But what is important to remember, almost all studies are in agreement with the finding that exercise is advantageous to a person’s health.
    And we are not talking about a great deal of exercise. Studies have shown that 2-1/2 hours or more per week of moderate exercise is enough to provide you health benefits. That’s about a half-hour a day for five days. What a deal, and it’s well worth the effort.
    ——
    Massachusetts-based Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of The Feingold Center for Children, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.

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