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Obesity, Health and Watching TV

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Recently there was a statistic in the Daily Camera about the number of hours people watch TV on average per month. The number astounded me… 151 hours!!! That equates to about 5 hours per day! I just can’t imagine. Not only can’t I imagine, but it has gotten me thinking about the inundation of commercials this puts into our brains. These commercials teach us about eating fast food and taking lots of medications.

When I was in nutrition school in NYC, we had a speaker talking about commercials. Although I can’t remember who exactly it was, the impression he left has not gone away. Basically what he presented was how commercials lure you into thinking that your life is not complete. Companies present you with these idyllic lifestyles, showing people healthy and happy. They then indicate this would not be the case if it weren’t for a certain drug or food that the people in the commercial are consuming.

Whether we like it or not, this gets into our subconscious and we start down the path to finding this nirvana that only comes with something outside of ourselves. It is a wonder we are overweight, obese, taking too many medications and generally not healthy? Think about it.

How many hours a day do you watch TV? What do you gain from it?

I want to challenge you to buy a little notebook. For at least one week, write down how many hours a day that you sit in front of the tube. Record the shows you watch and mostly record what is being advertised during that time. Then, do the following:

• Ask yourself if the show stimulated your brain in some healthy way.
• Watch how much you respond to those commercials.
• Do you get hungry for some fast food that would have never crossed your mind had you not seen an advertisement for it?
• More than that, do you respond?
• Do you go out and eat some junk food that not only doesn’t fulfill you but supports you being less than healthy?
• Last, do you find yourself thinking that “If only I took that medication I too would feel better!”

Is this the way you want to live your life? Do you want someone else influencing you what to eat and what medications you are told you need to take?

Add a Comment4 Comments


I love this post. Not just for the reasons you wrote about, though I'm sure some of the messages about fast food get through to me. But because I know I have television on too much.

You know how we talk about comfort food? Well, I think many of us use television as "comfort tv." It is company when one works at home, as I do. It is a window from the outside world coming into the house, talking to me, sometimes entertaining me, sometimes informing me. (And, of course, advertising to me.)

I generally have the television on somewhere in the house whenever I'm home, whether I'm working, cleaning, or watching it for recreation. But I have ADD, and I know that it also can distract me from whatever it is that I'm really intending to do at the time. I also know that it can easily keep our creativity at bay -- without it on, I might think about filling the hummingbird feeders, reading the newspaper, or working in the garden. With it on, I'm more likely to be passive.

Thanks for the nudge. I might keep your diary, but for different reasons!

October 19, 2009 - 8:27am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Thanks for the thoughts Diane! I forget about the 'comfort' of the outside world and TV. I'd love to hear back on your diary and what things you found it helpful for! To your health, Julie

October 20, 2009 - 3:24pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Julie - If you'll pardon the pun, you've given us a lot of food for thought here. :-)
In addition to being bombarded with TV ads for "bad" food, what struck me as I read your article is how little information we get on "good" foods. If there was a focused effort on public education about good nutrition - via news stories, commercials, public service announcements, etc. - it could make a real difference. Thanks for bringing up this vital topic. Take good care, Pat

October 15, 2009 - 5:59pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Hi Pat- I so agree. One of the things I am really working on with both my website and blog is just that - education! I believe it gives us our power! Thanks. :-)

October 16, 2009 - 9:34am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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