With the invention of streaming television, more and more Americans have a new pastime: binge-watching. Marla Ahlgrimm explains, however, that hours in front of the screen can leave you at risk of many health problems. Keep reading as Ahlgrimm explains more on how never-ending Netflix sessions are not what the doctor ordered.
Q: What are the dangers associated with binge-watching television?
Marla Ahlgrimm: The most concerning thing about it is that you are sitting stagnant for hours on end. While this is not a problem occasionally -- we all like to catch up on our shows -- hours without meaningful movement several times each week can quickly lead to weight gain and the issues that come along with it.
Q: What kinds of issues?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Diabetes and heart disease for starters. It’s been estimated that each hour of TV watched per day increases a person’s risk of obesity by 23%. Obesity, which is already an epidemic in the US, is a leading cause of both of these diseases. Furthermore, when you use TV to escape reality, you open yourself up to a host of mental health worries, including depression and low self-esteem.
Q: Many parents don’t enforce TV times restrictions at home. How does this affect children?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Sadly, the more TV a child watches, the more likely they are to exhibit anti-social behaviors. Like adults, kids who live by the TV schedule are also more at risk of obesity.
Q: How much TV is too much?
Marla Ahlgrimm: I think that each family must set sensible limits. For kids, no more than an hour on regular days, with exceptions during cold or rainy weather. The idea is to balance physical activity and social interactions with screen time of any kind. This includes gaming and social media.