TV makes you die faster. Apparently.

I just love these surveys that come up with this stuff.

The latest survey that has media all agog reckons the more TV you watch the less longer you’ll live. Well pass me my Last Will and Testament papers at once and get Elton John on the phone. Folk like me are done for.

And that goes for you pesky network execs too. Here you were thinking you were working hard. No, you’re just on a faster travelator to the Angel Gabriel.

Researchers estimate that for every hour an adult spends watching TV their life expectancy shortens by almost 22 minutes. Is that supposed to be irony? After all a half hour of television is actually 22 minutes plus ads. Could we just arrange to zap all the ads in our life and live a little longer? Let’s commission a study on that, pronto.

If you’re glued to the box for six hours a day then you can kiss goodbye to about five years of your life. Double it if it includes Two and a Half Men.

If you have a Foxtel subscription you’ll be lucky to make it to Christmas. Sorry.

The latest survey comes from research via the the University of Queensland who based this on data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study, which began in 1999 and asked more than 11,000 people aged over 25 about their weekly TV viewing.

They found that in 2008 Australian adults watched 9.8 billion hours of TV and for every hour spent in front of the box their life expectancy dropped by 22 minutes. Those who watched for six hours a day lived 4.8 years less than those who watched none.

Not too sure what the results were for those who were sitting on the couch reading for the same amount of time, but I’m guessing it would be about the same. But that’s not as sexy a headline.

So is the real culprit here the TV set, the lack of individuals exercising, the limits of the data or the media jumping on the story?

Of course you won’t live as long if you don’t exercise. But does that mean we have to give up The Bolt Report? Oh wait a minute…


  1. If you go to the British Journal of Sports Medicine website, the abstract mentions that “this study is limited by the low precision with which the relationship between TV viewing time and mortality is currently known”. What a rubbish “study”.

  2. Didn’t Joe Jackson say ‘Everything Gives You Cancer’? We should contact him to add TV to the list :-). Having said that, I do agree that people are becoming more sedentary and need to get out more. Walking is great exercise and we should all try to do 30 minutes a day. Community announcement over folks 🙂

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