advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Is Television Harmful?

Aside from the issue of whether watching violence on television leads to violence in real life, are there any other risks from watching too much TV? 

A
Answer (Published 7/31/2009)

That depends on who is doing the watching and how you define "too much." Apart from the violence issue, a number of concerns have been studied, mostly as they relate to children and adolescents. For example, a 2008 report from the nonprofit advocacy group Common Sense Media, prepared by researchers from Yale, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the California Pacific Medical Center, found that the average child today spends 45 hours per week with some type of media, compared to only 30 hours of school. These findings were drawn from a review of 173 studies on children and media showing that media exposure can contribute to childhood obesity, tobacco use, drug and alcohol use, poor achievement in school, as well as sexual and attention problems.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Energy - If you are a parent or grandparent, you know that abundant energy is vital when it comes to keeping up with the kids. Certain supplements can help keep you energized, naturally - learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

That's quite a list, but even more concerns have surfaced: the more time kids spend in front of the television, the less time they have for interacting with others - children and adults - which means that they're not learning social skills or how to resolve conflicts. Research from Johns Hopkins linked having a TV in the bedroom at 5.5 years of age with behavioral problems, poor social skills, and poor sleep. This was based on an analysis of data on more than 2,000 children; the study was published in the October 2007 issue of Pediatrics.

In particular, I worry about the eating habits of kids who watch a lot of television. A study from the University of Minnesota that tracked nearly 2,000 high-school and middle-school teenagers found that high-schoolers who watched more than five hours of television per day had a lower intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods. What's more, those bad habits translated into higher intakes of snack foods, fried foods, fast-food, sugar-sweetened beverages and trans fats five years later. The study was published in the January, 2009, issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

I'm not against spending a few leisure hours in front of the television. I often watch movies on television in the evenings, but enjoyable as that can be, it is no substitute for the relaxation techniques that I recommend as the best means of reducing stress. Television can be much too stimulating, and stimulation is an obstacle to relaxation. But kids seem to be at greater risk from overdosing on TV.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here