When it comes to gaining and losing weight, the reality is there are many different factors at play: lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, genetics and more.
If you’re someone who has struggled with weight gain, you’ll know how difficult it is to lose weight and keep it off. But losing weight and staying healthy are paramount to good health. Exercise and a healthy diet are two of the biggest factors that influence our weight, and subsequently, our overall well-being. (In fact, one study found that obesity can shorten our lives by up to 14 years!) Additionally, staying healthy can help us avoid considerable health care costs down the road.
But when we look at how we spend our time, are there activities that can lead to weight gain and others that lead to weight loss? Researchers say, definitely.
The activity that makes you gain weight the most
Several different studies have discovered a powerful association between TV watching and weight gain.
‘TV watching has stronger links to weight gain than other sedentary activities,’ Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian told Time Magazine. He is an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
‘Turning off the TV is therefore very important — in particular, to improve diet. If TV must be watched, then it should be done without any eating and without any food or beverage advertising,’ he said, noting the impact of food commercials on weight gain.
Scientist are especially concerned about the connection between TV watching and childhood obesity. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health references several studies whose findings reveal that the more TV kids watch, the more likely they are to gain weight. Additionally, children who have TV sets in their rooms are more likely to develop obesity than those who don’t, and TV viewing has such as strong connection to obesity that it can often predict obesity later in life.
Another study called the Nurses’ Health Study recorded the habits of over 50,000 middle-age women for six years, and discovered some fascinating insights. For every two hours these women spent watching TV daily, they had a 23% higher risk of becoming obese and a 14% higher risk of developing diabetes. Incredible! Other subsequent studies supported these findings as well. Other factors related to weight gain had to do with inadequate sleep and alcohol consumption and of course, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.
So what can you do if you enjoy watching TV?
It’s so easy to come home after a hard days’ work an turn on the TV as a means to chill out. But instead of watching TV as your go-to means of entertainment, why not add some other activities to the mix? Bike riding, going for a walk, reading or simply hanging out outside on a pretty day can benefit your health. You could also limit TV watching to your favorite one or two shows, or only watch TV when you’re at the gym. Any small change for the better can help in a big way!
Though losing weight might seem like an insurmountable obstacle, every small change in a positive direction can help.