Most smokers agree that smoking is detrimental to one’s health. Those that do not agree should be aware that, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, lung cancer is both the leading cause of cancer deaths and the leading cause of premature deaths from cancer. Research supports that the vast majority of lung cancer cases are due to smoking or second hand smoke. A new study has found that another activity can be just as harmful to one’s health: excessive TV watching. Researchers from the University of Queensland, in Brisbane reported that on the average, every hour of television a person watches reduced the viewer’s life expectancy by almost 22 minutes. The study, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggested that after the age of 25, six hours of daily viewing could cut a person’s lifespan by almost five years. The researchers examined data from a lifestyle study involving more than 11,000 Australians, combined with population trends and death rates. They found that being sedentary for long periods increased the risk of an earlier death.
The authors wrote: “TV viewing time may be associated with a loss of life that is comparable to other major chronic disease risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.” They added that Australian trends were probably comparable to those in many other nations with similar patterns of television watching and diseases linked to sedentary lives, such as heart disease and stroke. In addition, the researchers noted that the findings also could be compared to other risk factors such as smoking; studies have shown that one cigarette cuts 11 minutes off a lifespan, which is equivalent to half an hour of TV watching. Another recent study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, reported that as little as 15 minutes of physical activity every day could increase a person’s lifespan by three years. Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise further reduced all-cause death rates by 4%. The trend continued until a person was exercising for 100 minutes a day, after which no further benefit was seen.
Take Home Message:
To increase the chances of a long, healthy life exercise and don’t smoke. If you want to die young, smoke and watch TV.
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