The average adult in the U.S. watches almost five hours of television per day. Even for people with high levels of physical activity, watching four or more hours of TV and screen-based entertainment per day is associated with worse mental health, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, low levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and a 46% greater risk of early death. What can you do to protect yourself and your family from an overdose of this technology?
- Take TVs and computers out of the bedroom (this may both reduce your screen time and improve your sleep time).
- Avoid TV or other screen-based entertainment during mealtime (you may find you eat less and talk more).
- Turn the TV off when no one is watching (to save power and your health).
- Set a daily limit on your TV and screen-based entertainment time and track it. One study found that people assigned a lock-out device triggered at one half a person’s usual TV time burned more than 200 additional calories per day than people not given the device.
These simple changes may help control your weight, improve your physical and mental health, and give you more time for the people and activities you love.