How much screen time do you get?
The typical American watches an average of four hours of television each day. And in the average home, there are more TV sets than people. In addition, Nielsen data shows that consumers’ time with TV, Internet and mobile video continues to increase across the board.
Today, Americans are spending more time than ever in front of a screen and less time enjoying other activities. There is no doubt that these habits are contributing to the obesity problem facing this nation. In fact, a new study shows that excessive amounts of screen time vastly increases the risk of childhood obesity.
But this is not just a problem for our children. The truth is that your TV probably contributed to your original weight gain and now it can sabotage your weight loss efforts. Watching TV takes time away from physical activity and exposes us to lots of junk food ads that can influence us to purchase or consume those products.
Hearing these statistics, what can we do? Spend less time in front of a screen! To be healthy and lean, you must embrace the behaviors of a healthy, lean person. In fact, The National Weight Control Registry reports that successful weight managers watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
While you don’t have to cut out your favorite shows, scaling back your television consumption will drastically increase your chances of successfully losing weight. Strive for “appointment TV”—schedule the shows you must watch and then turn off the set after they are finished.
Instead of watching TV or playing video games, try these ideas:
- Talk on the phone while climbing the stairs in your house or walking around the block.
- Plan a family walk after dinner (rain or shine). The kids can get bundled up in cool weather. Make sure coats and hats are stowed by the front door.
- Organize a junk drawer or messy closet.
- Spend one “non-TV” hour each night playing board games or learning a new hobby.
- Visit the local library or choose to grocery shop instead of spending time on the couch.