How many hours a day do you spend watching television? According to 2010 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American 15 years of age or older spends 2.7 hours daily. 2009 data from Nielsen, however, suggests that the real number might be closer to 5 hours.
A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that each hour spent watching television shaves 22 minutes off of your life expectancy. In other words, if you watch television 5 hours daily for a year, then your life expectancy is shortened by nearly a month. It’s a sobering statistic and yet another study to find a link between sitting and mortality.
For the study, which aimed to quantify the link between television viewing mortality, researchers created a “life table model” that combined data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. Based on the data, researchers concluded that very single hour of television viewed after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.
To put things in perspective, one hour of television viewing has the same impact on life expectancy as smoking two cigarettes.
The bottom line: It’s clear that all of us need to sit less and move more. And the next time you’re watching The Real Housewives, ask yourself, “Is this really worth it?”