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How many hours of TV do you watch per month?

By May 17, 2009 - 7:59pm
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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 Comment7 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

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

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
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