The risks of excessive TV watching, a “discretionary,” and treatable behavioral risk factor

Courtesy of the ever-prolific Ken Pope’s mental health posting service, The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published “Mortality Risk for 2-Hour/Day Increase in TV Viewing is Significantly Higher for Following Causes of Death:  Suicide, Cancer, Heart Disease, Cdp, Diabetes, Influenza/Pneumonia, Parkinson’s, Liver Disease” in the December, 2015 issue.  This research study included over 220,000 individuals and tracked their health outcomes for 16 years, “or until death.  The results expanded on previous research about the risk factors associated with excessive TV watching, and found new associations with the serious diseases listed in the title, and also found, “each 2-hour increase in TV viewing was associated with a 13% increased risk of all-cause mortality.”  The article concludes, “TV viewing is a prevalent discretionary behavior that may be a more important target for public health intervention than previously recognized.”

This supports the benefits of mental health professionals routinely asking how TV is watched by the people who consult us, and offering help with the “discretionary” behavioral problem of excessive TV watching.

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