Reduce TV time to burn more calories

Stanford researchers have found a simple way to avoid weight gain: Spend less time in front of the television set.

"Taking time away spent in front of the television has the potential to improve a person's activity levels," said Jennifer Otten, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. She and her colleagues followed 36 adults who watched an average of five hours of television daily. Half of the participants had their television time cut in half; these study participants burned 120 more calories a day on average, equivalent to walking a mile.

The results were similar to those found in studies of children. "We've known for a decade that reducing children's television viewing is one of the most effective ways to prevent weight gain, so it is great to finally see a study like this in adults," said Tom Robinson, MD, director of the Center for Healthy Weight at Packard Children's Hospital.

The more time adults spend in front of the television, the more likely they are to suffer from obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, added Otten.

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