March 27th, 2012

Dr Art Hister – Watching TV can be good for you

TV gets a very bad rap when it comes to assigning blame for our evident problems with obesity. Study after study has concluded that people who watch TV weigh way more than non-TV watchers. The former do less exercise, and they also tend to have much worse diets.

But two very key questions that remain unanswered by most of these studies are these: is it the TV watching that leads to the poorer health habits? Or do people with poor health habits choose to watch more TV?

And second, are all TV watchers equally at risk?

Well, seems to me that if there were no TV around, people who want to sit and eat fatty snacks would find other ways to fulfill their needs so I have long tended to absolve TV of much of the blame for why we’re fat and lazy (and yes, perhaps my views are coloured by the fact that I work on TV).

But there is a bit of evidence now to point to in order to back up what I believe: A European study published in the International Journal of Public Health has concluded that “news junkies” (mostly from TV, but also those who follow news on radio and in the press), tend to have healthier diets (specifically, they adhere more closely to a Mediterranean diet) than do people who are not avid news followers, which translates into eating more fruit and more fresh fish while consuming less meat.

In other words, TV viewing can actually improve health outcomes, which is why if you’re not doing it already, you should make a resolution to never – never, never – miss another episode of Health Headlines with Dr. Art Hister on Global TV.

Just suggesting this for your health, of course.


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