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Friday, December 2, 2011

Debate/Discussion: TV makes you fat


The article where this handy statistic came from had nothing to do with the health and fitness aspect of this trend. But it got me thinking. This is an issue that I see around a lot on health and fitness sites and in magazines. 

All of the experts SWEAR that TV makes Americans fat.

My opinion is this: TV doesn't make Americans or anyone else fat. Consuming more calories than you burn, being too sedentary, not having a balanced diet, thyroid problems...those are some of the things I believe make people fat.

I do, however, also think that the people who tend to watch the most TV are those that tend to be more sedentary than others. 

I make this conclusion based simply on those that I observe around me. If you are in superb health, can run circles around olympic athletes, watch tons of TV, and sit on your butt all day, then good for you. Oh, and please share how you do it!

That's probably not the case though. We all have shows that we like to watch. But there's a difference between watching something now and again and sitting on your butt all weekend long. Or sitting on your butt during the week as well, after a job where you sit on your butt all day, and then sitting on your butt until it's time for bed.

Mix that with eating horribly and engaging in other bad for you habits. Yes, there is a great chance that you will gain weight and maybe even suffer from other ailments.

Statistics like these sound sexy. They get people outraged and poised to act. That's fine, in my personal opinion. Most Americans don't eat right or do enough exercise. If they then spend all their free time watching TV, it will start to have an adverse effect on their health. I mean, that's strictly common sense.

With all that said I guess my opinion is not that TV makes people fat, It's simply that bad choices make people fat (or hormonal problems etc). 

Then again, there are a lot of people who are so tempted by TV like they're tempted by fried foods, chocolate, or smoking. Why? What is it about TV that makes the best of us forget about exercising and gobble up a bag of chips without realizing it?

Well, commercials are quite tempting. Most commercials are about food or toys (for kids and adults alike). Is that what makes us keep the TV on and eat and eat and eat?  

I don't have all the answers. Honestly, I'm not a fan of TV. There's no show that I watch every week or even everyday. When I was in high school I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer (still do!) and X-Files. 

The people in my family...they can't go a day without turning on the TV. Actually my mom and older sister sleep with it on. I don't know how they do it. I need it to be pitch black and absolutely silent before I enter my REM cycle.

For all those out there who can't live without TV I say be smart about it. 

  • Don't eat while sitting in front of it because you will eat more.
  • Put a limit on it. Watch only one show a day. Instead of having the TV on all night when you get home from work.
  • If you're really adventurous, do some exercises between commercials. I always read this in fitness magazines. It sounds like good advice but I'm not sure how realistic it is. But try it!
  • Eat better
  • Go out more
What do you readers think? Is TV the devil or do we just not care about our health in general? How can we change this? Will it ever change?


  1. I wish TV would just go AWAY. Seriously.. if cable were completely shut down for 24 hours, I think the world would break out in mass panic. TV, advertisements, all of it.. The world can do without it!! It's controlling, addicting, and not beneficial to anything. I understand people make their own choices, and I agree that it's not necessarily TV that make people overweight. But, people run their lives off of TV and it blows my mind!!

  2. I agree! Chema (the hubby) can't stand it even a little bit. He HATES everything to do with TV. I barely watch it unless I watch a movie. But I detest commercials. I also wish it could be shut down! That'd be incredible.

  3. I never watch TV, but I do watch shows on DVDs. I mostly watch them while I'm ironing or washing dishes, two things that I otherwise really dislike. In that way, I think TV is fine, and you're still doing something at the same time (that's not eating). I think it's more the sticking-to-your-favorite-show-schedule that makes it detrimental, because then you can't pause it or walk off and you're more likely to sit there all glaze-eyed. After I got rid of cable I started doing so many more things!

  4. I know! There's so much to do without TV! In Spain we didn't have a TV for the longest time and the funny thing is that we didn't miss it! When we finally did buy one we hardly even watched it! Now we are so much in the habit of not watching it. Maybe we'll watch a movie or something but other than that, no.