Your mother probably told you it is not healthy to sit and watch TV so much, but you thought she was just making it up. Actually, over the past 40 years, a number of studies have shown negative health effects related to watching TV for hours each day. A recent addition to this collection of studies is research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Their meta-analysis covered nearly a quarter of a million people and years of follow-up.

They found that watching an average of two hours of TV per day increases the chance of getting type 2 diabetes by 20%. Two hours of TV per day increases the chance of having the cardiovascular disease by 15%. Most alarmingly, people who watched two hours of TV per day were 13% more likely to die during the studies. They also found that the more TV people watched, the greater the mortality rate. [1]

Most children today are plugged into devices like TVs, tablets, and smartphones before they can even ride a bike. Research has shown that children who spend more than 4 hours a day watching TV or using such devices are more likely to be overweight. [2]

Of course, researchers pointed out that watching TV doesn’t directly have negative health effects. It’s the fact that people tend to eat less healthy foods and remain sedentary during television viewing.

So, if you were looking for motivation to snack healthy or do something active, here’s a little more motivation to have fun and live healthy, longer.

[1] Anders G, Hu F. Television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. JAMA.  305(23); 2448-2455.

[2] Pearson N., Biddle S.J. Sedentary behavior and dietary intake in children, adolescents, and adults. A systematic review. Am J Prev Med. 2011; 41: 178-18.