How often do you come home from a hard day, only to plop on the couch and "relax" in front of the TV? If you find it hard to escape the sights and sounds of the tube, or if watching your favorite show turns into more wasted hours than you planned, you're not alone. Americans watch TV for an average of 4 hours every day; even when we're not watching, the television is on- for almost 8 hours a day in the average home. Have you ever realized how much TV has become a part of our lives? Here are some more startling facts, from the non-profit organization, TV-Turnoff Network:
40% of Americans always or often watch TV while eating dinner.
Eating dinner or snacking in front of the TV is linked to overeating and dissatisfaction. When you're distracted, you're not mindful of the meal you are eating, causing you to eat more without realizing it or really enjoying your food. Turn off the TV (and other distractions like the computer or the phone), and you'll savor that portion-controlled meal.
50% of US households have 3 or more TVs.
When you have more TVs, chances are, more of your family members are watching- instead of spending quality time together, doing homework, and being active.
By age 65, the average American has seen 2 million TV commercials.
Many of the commercials we see show appetizing foods-fast food, junk food, soda, alcohol, sugary cereals, and candy. Think "out of sight, out of mind."
The average American youth spends about 900 hours per year in school, and over 1,000 hours per year watching TV.
While you can't place all the blame on TV, soaring rates of childhood obesity are a result of both poor nutrition and an inactive lifestyle. Limit the amount of time your kids (and yourself, leading by example) watch TV and encourage more physical activity like walking the dog, helping with yardwork, playing sports, or other active hobbies.
"We don't have television programming [cable, etc.], yet I use our tv frequently. I like using my exercise dvds and listening to music via Pandora and cds." -- STAPLEYJOHNSON
"We typically only have the TV on in the morning for a little bit of cartoons and then at night for a movie for the kids and some favorite shows for mommy and daddy. I don't think we watch too much TV at all. In fact there are some nights where it may not even be on and we're just outside enjoying the evening or maybe doing a house project." -- STACEYSKI
"I have two daughters 7 and 5. They watch T.V. every day, I don't put a limit on it or anything but they get tired of watching it after a while and run off to play and then come back to watch it later. We eat in front of the T.V. once a week having movie night/family night. The kids look forward to that. We as a family do a lot of other things together outside of the house and do lots of arts and crafts. Also my daughters are above the average in school and has been since per-school. They a..." -- AMF1985
Jen received her master's in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. As a certified personal trainer, she also holds a certification in prenatal and postpartum exercise. Jen has two children and enjoys running marathons.
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