Facebook Pixel

How many hours of TV do you watch per month?

By May 17, 2009 - 7:59pm
Rate This

I just read in Prevention magazine that the average number of hours per month the average American spends watching TV is...151 !! Wow! I was feeling like I watched a little too much TV this weekend (it was raining), but I can not imagine watching FIVE hours of TV every day (assuming daily) as a normal routine. This does not include all of the screen time that people spend looking at computers or other electronic devices when they are at home or work. No wonder many people have time fitting exercise or cooking dinner into their schedule (sorry to sound so critical, but I just couldn't believe the number for TV alone was 5 hours/day on average. I think I watched 3 shows in a row on Saturday...and hour and a half...and had to do something else because I felt my eyes straining).

With the number "151 hours" in mind, did you know that:

-If you watch 60 hours or TV per month (2 hours/day, if daily): this is associated with a 23% higher risk of obesity and 14% higher risk of diabetes.

According to the JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association), the MAXIMUM number of hours per month of TV watching for IDEAL HEALTH is: 30.

Can you watch "only" 30 hours of TV, if it means lowering your risks of diabetes and overweight/obesity?

I would love to know:
Do you watch 5 hours of TV every day, or average 151 per month?
If no, do you watch less or more? When and why do you watch TV?

Add a Comment10 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Can you live a day without TV? - www.notvday.com

February 27, 2012 - 4:27am

I love television. I do. I am not ashamed to admit it.

I probably do have the television on for five hours a day, but I'm not actively watching it all that time. And I wonder if this is true for a lot of the people in the survey. If you have it on for a couple of hours in the morning to watch the Today Show or Good Morning America and for a couple of hours a night to watch prime time, you're already up to 4 hours a day. If the kids watch a show after school, you're at 5. And often the television just is on as a companion -- sometimes I clean the house with music, other times I have the television on. It's background noise, it's company, and something on it occasionally catches my eye.

I do know that because it's often on -- even if I'm not actively paying attention -- that my brain is subjected to a lot more commercials than the brain of someone who doesn't have the television on. And with my ADD, it would probably be better if that didn't happen. I am so easily distractable that there are times the TV caught my eye and an hour later I'm not sure what happened.

But I can see how having it on for 5 hours a day -- but only truly paying attention to it for a couple of those hours -- happens in a lot of households. Morning shows, for instance, are meant to give you the news and features of the day in short bits because the producers know that you are busy getting ready for work, getting kids ready for school, feeding dogs, making lunches, finding paperwork and getting everyone out the door (even if it's just yourself, it can be multi-tasking!)

I would be interested in the same survey if they asked "how many hours is your television on each day?" AND "how many hours are you sitting down and watching your television?" I bet a lot of people would have different answers.

May 20, 2009 - 8:20am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Diane Porter)

I agree with you Diane, on actively watching TV and having it on for background noise. Many people just don't like a quiet house.

I do know that children are absolutely affected by TV and radio, even if not actively watching it, which is why I disallow television on during the day. My children know an enormous amount of current events due to me listening to NPR all day (and the oldest is 5!).

When I have live radio on from Ireland, and talk radio is chatting away in the background, my kids will say "how come they are saying it's raining and it's not?" or "why did they just say it's 6pm when it's only 1pm?" (not realizing it's Irish radio with different weather and time zone) so they ARE very aware of what's going on, even if it's "only" background noise.

And you know what? I'm with you - I love TV too. Granted there's a lot of rubbish but some rubbish is just entertaining and fun and I'm no less educated than anyone else if I choose to watch 80s videos for an hour or a reality show. I think there is a sense of TV snobbery, with people claiming to only watch PBS or documentaries for one hour a week, as if that makes them elite! Meanwhile, half of them are checking out websites all day, looking at sports gear, hobbies like collecting beanie babies or fancy shoes or purses and spending hours on Ebay, LOL!

By the way, I am not referencing anyone who wrote here, but I do see a patten of folks who spend endless, mindless hours online yet claim that TV is for dummies due to all the nonsense on it. The internet is exactly like TV in terms of value - both their values depend on what a person uses them for - and TV doesn't gives us carpal tunnel! :)

May 20, 2009 - 1:21pm
(reply to Susan Cody)

I hardly consider my time on my computer "mindless" - even when playing computer games that I would challenge anyone to in a heartbeat. I happen to love games that involve role playing, strategy, solving mysteries and puzzles and demand logical thinking. Keeping the brain active and creatively challenged is a good thing.

Mahjong and Solitaire are "mindless," albeit some people find them entertaining and a nice little escape from the mundane responsibilities of daily life.

As far as the time I spend on my computer, I make a very good living as an IT/Web Strategist, thank you very much, and am quite happily tapping away - carpal tunnel free.

P.S. Our health insurance carrier has a computer game for kids called "MyPyramid Blast Off" aimed at teaching them how to eat well and be active while launching a rocket into outer space. It's an interactive game that is part of the federal government's food pyramid designed specially for kids.

May 20, 2009 - 5:14pm

I must confess I do not watch TV at all unless I am dying to see a rented movie (which is rare).

But I wonder if the amount of time I spent at the computer is as bad as watching TV. If the issue is being 30 hours sitting on a couch, then sitting at the computer surfing the net, playing video games, chatting, etc for about the same time must have also negative health implications as well. Do you know of any study on this?

I think our modern world including Americans (children and adults) are spending too much time sitting at their PCs in addition to watching all those hours of TV. That is really bad!

May 18, 2009 - 9:40pm
(reply to Coach Virginia)

That's a great point -- I bet there are a lot of us who are "too busy" to watch much TV, and yet we spend countless hours before our computer screens. I know I'm guilty. I probably watch 2-3 hours of TV each week (yes, I'm too busy!), and yet I'm constantly on this web site or emailing or just on the internet in general.

May 18, 2009 - 9:52pm

hmm...I don't really know. I watch BBC America for 1 hour every weekday after work, and have my favorite "reality shows" like Kitchen Nightmares and Hotel Inspector. Then, there's Masterpiece Theater on Sunday nights during part of the year. I'm also a fan of classic movies, History Channel and Discovery, and the occasional HGTV show.

But, while the TV might be on in the background, I probably spend more time on my laptop and playing computer games than watching that other screen, LOL!

May 18, 2009 - 7:59pm
HERWriter Guide

I tend to watch TV late at night as it's my only 'sit-down' time and we don't allow the TV on during the day, since our kids are stay-at-home kids and the TV on all day would not be a good thing!

150 hours a month does seem like a lot, I am nowhere near that. I have relatives who watch about 200 hours a month, though. They just park themselves in front of the telly from about 5pm till 11pm every night and a lot more on weekends.

Summer time sees a lot less TV watching too. When you live in a very harsh winter climate, the tendency to watch TV is higher.

Some people people who don't watch TV tend to use the internet a lot - which can be just as bad. TV has a lot of educational aspects, as does the internet but both can also be full of rubbish!

May 18, 2009 - 11:08am

That's a great question Alison. I think Americans watch too much TV as well. I have a few shows I watch, but generally watch no more than 5 hours of TV per week.

When I get home from work I rather go to the gym or read a book or magazine, unless a specific show I watch is on. But that's just me and I know I'm an exception rather than the rule since that puts me around 20-25 hours of TV per month; way lower than the average!

May 18, 2009 - 10:58am

I may watch 4 hours of TV a day. Now it maybe less Because of summer and even more less because the Boston Celtics are out of the playoffs, The Biggest Loser is over, and America's Next Top Model is done. Now I think I can watch less then 30 hours of TV, But I will still be in front of the television because I do enjoy watching the Twilight Zone The Complete Definitive Collection DVD and playing NBA Live 09 on Playstation 3 online...lol Does DVD and Playstation 3 Count as television?

May 17, 2009 - 8:56pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.