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TV Viewing Ups Risk for Obesity, Diabetes


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As a country,we love to watch TV. In fact, American adults watch on average four to five hours a day.

And according to a new study, that's increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes.

For Paulina Ramos, it's a way to relax.

Paulina Ramos: "I THINK I PROBABLY WATCH ABOUT 14 HOURS A WEEK."

But that much TV is bad for your health. That's according to a new study from Harvard.

Researchers tracked more than 50-thousand women for six years and found that watching TV is worse for your health than other sedentary behaviors, like sitting, or working at a desk.

Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D./ Harvard School of Public Health: "PEOPLE WHO SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN FRONT OF TV HAVE THIS KIND OF COUCH POTATO SYNDROME. THEY EAT MORE FOOD, EAT MORE CALORIES AND EAT MORE JUNK FOOD BECAUSE OF CONSTANT EXPOSURE TO TV COMMERCIALS, AND THEY ALSO EXERCISE LESS."

As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, if you watch TV four hours a day, you increase your risk of obesity nearly fifty percent, and the risk of diabetes by almost 30 percent.

Experts say the message is simple. We need to turn off the TV, and get moving.

Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D./ Harvard School of Public Health: "NO MORE THAN TEN HOURS OF TV WATCHING PER WEEK AND AT LEAST A HALF-HOUR PER DAY OF WALKING. IF WE FOLLOW THIS KIND OF LIFESTYLE, 30 PERCENT OF NEW CASES OF OBESITY AND 43 PERCENT OF NEW CASE OF TYPE II DIABETES CAN BE PREVENTED."

Paulina plans to rethink the way she unwinds.

Paulina Ramos: "JUST BE A LITTLE MORE AWARE OF HOW MUCH I'M JUST SITTING, WATCHING TV. I JUST MIGHT BE A LITTLE MORE AWARE."

And since previous studies have linked TV watching to obesity in children and diabetes in adult men, it's a take-home message for the whole family.

There is an easy solution. If you want to combat the harmful health effects of watching TV, just put a treadmill or stationary bicycle in front of the set and exercise while you're watching.

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