Too much television

Now scientists say too much time in front of our screens can shorten our lives. Can't they ever give us good news?

It's a common complaint: 'There go a few hours of my life I'll never get back." This lament is often heard from someone who just wasted an evening watching a boring film or a dull football match. But that saying may be closer to the truth than one might think.

A new study claims that watching too much television can actually shorten your life. The report, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, dramatically placed lazing about in front of our screens "in the same ballpark as smoking and obesity". Each hour of TV watched after age 25 shortens one's lifespan by 22 minutes, the study found.

"While smoking rates are declining, watching TV is not, which has implications at a population level," said Dr Lennert Veerman of the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, where the research was carried out.

By these calculations, watching every match of the last World Cup would have taken off a day and a half off your life. That's without extra time and penalties. And if you're a fan of DVD boxed sets, then a rethink of your lifestyle is probably a good idea.

Of course, the whole thing could just be scaremongering nonsense. After all, surely a watching hours and hours of television is just a symptom, not a cause of, of an already lazy lifestyle.

Scientists: always taking the fun out of everything.

Published: August 24, 2011 04:00 AM