Television has been called many names in the few decades it’s been around – among them the Great Wasteland and Idiot Box. Television used to be the favourite whipping boy of those who love to criticise communication technologies and consumer gadgets — until the Internet and mobile phones came along.
Couch potatoes of the world have ignored all snide remarks, and just carried on their sedentary practice.
Now they might have to think again: Television may be hazardous to your health in more ways than previously imagined. In fact, it might shorten your life.
A couple of weeks ago, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Science reported some worrying news. It said Australian scientists have published research showing a link which suggests that the more TV a person watches, the sooner they die.
The report, which appears in the journal Circulation,says every extra hour spent watching television increases people’s risk of premature death.
Professor David Dunstan of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, followed more than 8000 Australian adults for six years.
“What this study provides is the first compelling evidence linking television viewing to an increased risk of early death,” says Dunstan. “People who watch four or more hours of television a day have a 46% higher risk of death from all causes and 80% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.”
Trivia: Robert Armstrong, an artist from California, developed the term couch potato in 1976. Several years later, he listed the term as a trademark with the United States government. Armstrong also helped illustrate a funny book about life as a full-time television watcher. It is called the “Official Couch Potato Handbook.”