BYU study: Binge-watching TV linked to poor diet, exercise habits

Posted at 12:01 PM, Jan 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-09 14:04:47-05

PROVO, Utah – Binge-watching TV is connected to poor diet and exercise habits, according to a recent study from Brigham Young University.

You may want to add another resolution to your list, cutting back on streaming services like Netflix; the study says it’s for your health.

A recent study by BYU health science professor Lori Spruance finds millennials who binge-watch TV (watching up to six consecutive hours of media in one sitting) are more likely to eat poorly, exercise less and be overweight or obese.

“Individuals who watch more TV generally have less healthful diets,” Spruance said. “For these people, time that could be spent preparing meals or grocery shopping appears to be substituted for binge-watching TV.”

The study found, among binge-watchers, about 85 percent eat fruits and vegetables less than once a day, 88 percent eat out once a week or more, fewer than 50 percent meet physical activity recommendations and more than 20 percent are overweight or obese.

According to the research, women are more likely than men to binge-watch TV on a weekly basis.

Spruance said the results identify the importance of reducing time spent in sedentary activities among young adults, especially binge-watching.

“The main message is moderation,” Spruance said. “Take breaks from binge-watching; set a limit on the number of episodes you’ll watch at once so you can incorporate healthy activities in your life too.”

Sedentary behavior can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes, some of the top chronic diseases in the U.S., according to health officials.

“Relaxation time is important and, for many, TV is an outlet to relax, so we’re not trying to encourage extremes in one direction or another,” Spruance said. “TV isn’t necessarily bad, you just need to have balance and make physical activity and healthy eating a priority too. And limit the number of hours you watch in one sitting.”

Coauthors from the University of Toledo and Montana State University contributed to the study.