Does Watching Television Cause Obesity?

How relevant does the correlation between watching TV and obesity sound? Absolutely irrelevant, right? Okay, if you think so, then you need to think again. Even though watching TV and obesity are not directly related, it definitely has an influential relationship. Let's see how.
FitnessVigil Staff
We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are. ~ Adelle Davis

A person is called obese when he possesses extra body fat. The normal fat percentage for women is 20% and for men it is 15%. If the fat content increases above 30% for women and 25% for men, then they are said to be obese. Obesity has been an increasing problem in the US. It is very important to address the problem of obesity as effects of obesity are severe like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, etc.

The increase in the number of people who are overweight in the US has been alarming. Let us first look at what the obesity statistics indicate. The Health and Human Services Department research says that nearly 60% of the US adults and 13% of children and adolescents are overweight. Americans watch a lot of TV and it is ranked third as an activity after working and sleeping. Let's make it clear that apart from watching TV, playing video games, watching DVD's, using a computer and browsing on the Internet, can also lead to obesity.

Watching Television and Obesity: The Correlation

Lack of exercising, regularly consuming food items, which are heavy on calories and low metabolism rate are the most common factors that lead to obesity. Watching TV does lead to obesity, so let's look at the logical reasons for the same.

Low Metabolism Rate
The metabolic rate for individuals who are physically less active is generally low. One of the most common reasons for having a low metabolic rate is that they spend more time watching TV and performing no activities that require physical strain which ultimately leads to weight gain. Hence, a physically inactive person will burn less calories, whereas a physically active person will burn more calories, even though he/she may be watching the television. You can observe this yourself, just look around, and you will observe people who do the same amount of work but their body structures are totally different.

Eating More During Meal Time
You must have observed that when you are watching your favorite soap or movie and at the same time eating your meal, you tend to eat more than what you normally eat and even need. If you think about doing this daily, how much fat will you put on, in a year's time? Your guess is as good as mine!

Increase in Snack Intake
We all snack and munch at our favorite snack joints or at home. But what happens when people reduce or stop having any form of physical activity and only watch TV? In this case, munching on snacks becomes their main activity when they feel hungry. Also, people enjoying watching TV along with some popcorn, fries or just grab a mug of beer. Do you really require this extra intake of food? The answer is No. This eventually gets you to increase your fat content and leads you to becoming obese.

Misleading Information and Advertisements
Watching TV not only makes people sedentary, but also influences them to adopting bad eating habits, like eating junk food very often, consuming more aerated and alcoholic drinks, etc., through the influence of various TV advertisements. Junk food items are high on calories and have ill effects on the health of consumers, mainly children. Researches have shown that children who ate more junk food, faced severe health issues as compared to adults. This is because children are more vulnerable to TV ads, as they still don't understand what is good and bad for them.

Obesity due to excessive watching of television is not only applicable to people who are physically less active, but also to those who play or exercise regularly. Researches have shown that physically active individuals also eat more and that too more of unhealthy food, while watching TV. This increases their fat percentage and if this is done often, it can make them put on weight. However, they can manage their fat content with regular exercise, and they are in a better condition as their metabolic rate is higher compared to individuals who do not exercise.

So, stop being a Couch Potato right now! And, start working out at least 30 minutes a day. Not only are you becoming more fat but you are also not burning enough calories, not putting on muscle, not increasing your metabolism rate and just eating the wrong food. Start exercising now, limit your hours in front of the TV and let the junk remain in stores or at least reduce it. I am sure you don't want to see a beautiful sleek-fit dress or a suit and not fit in it. Take care of your health, it's all in your hands.