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Blog #4 “Time For a Dramatic Break Up”? Why Watching TV is Not Good For You

In my Japanese book, I mentioned the study regarding mortality of sedentary time *1. One of the most common sedentary behaviors is watching TV. You can probably easily imagine that watching TV is not good because it is a cognitively passive sedentary behavior. The study showed that time spent watching TV was associated with increased risk of dementia, irrespective of physical exercise, and time spent using a computer was associated with reduced risk of dementia *2. This study did not include tv viewing behavior during the pandemic period as part of their study data—which makes me wonder how many of us ended up with watching TV way too much for over last three years?? During the pandemic, my husband and I watched all the apps-Netflix, Hulu, HBO, you name it! We consumed lots of media content because we were sheltering at home like many other people across the globe. Binge watching has been the thing we do during the Covid outbreak!! We cannot take back the time we’ve lost already but we can change our behavior from this point onward. Since we are, at least for the moment safe and have some distance from the pandemic, it’s time for us to stop watching so much TV- if we want/need to stay sedentary, at least we should engage something cognitively active. A cognitively active sedentary behavior, such as using a computer, possibly can help stimulate our brains much better than passively viewing media content.

After learning this new information about how unhealthy hours and hours of TV viewing can be, I may just have to break up with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime soon…”It’s not me, it’s you!”

*1 Ekelund U, Tarp J, Fagerland MW, et al. Joint associations of accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary time with all-cause mortality: a harmonised meta-analysis in more than 44 000 middle-aged and older individuals. Br J Sports Med 2020;54:1499–1507

*2 Raichlen D A, Klimentidis Y C, Sayre M K, et al. Leisure-time sedentary behaviors are differentially associated with all-cause dementia regardless of engagement in physical activity. PNAS 2022; 119 (35).

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