Most Americans like to spend some of their evening or weekend time watching professional sports or weekly TV shows. However, many of us also find ourselves eating snack foods on the couch. Recent research reveals that additional time spent watching television leads to greater intake of processed foods that contain minimal nutrition.
Research background on TV & junkfood
The study, which was led by Dr. Temple Northup of the University of Houston and appeared in the January issue of The International Journal of Communication and Health, strengthened the link between TV and weight gain that has been identified previously. For instance, in a 2014 report from Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, a significant connection was found between the amount of daily television and poor nutrition in a group of children ranging from 9 to 11 years old.
Research in the field has tended to focus on the idea that we watch television while sitting, which in turn leads us toward poor dietary choices. Instead of centering his research on the physical inactivity of TV viewership, Dr. Northrup was interested in the psychology that might drive the dual bad habits of consuming TV and low-quality food.
Assessment of college-age Americans
To better understand the mentalities toward nutrition of those who watch television versus those who don’t, Dr. Northrup surveyed almost 600 people who were 22 years old on average.
The poll asked young men and women about the amount and types of TV they watched, in addition to posing questions about proper dietary intake. Also, the survey attempted to garner a sense of how much control people felt they had over their own health, gauging a perceived lack of control Northrup described as “fatalistic.”
Dr. Northup’s weight gain study found that more TV typically meant more junk food as well. Additionally, heavy television watchers did not know as much about nutrition and were likelier to feel passive toward their health than light TV users, explained Medical News Today. Since those people had less knowledge and a greater belief that their dietary choices were meaningless, they were likelier to consume unhealthy snack items.
Getting the right messages
Dr. Northrup is convinced that a primary element driving the connection between these two bad habits is simply that we are following the patterns that we see in TV stars.
“Within advertising, most foods are nutritionally deficient, while entertainment programming depicts characters frequently snacking on unhealthy foods and rarely eating a balanced meal,” he said.
As the above study suggests, bad habits such as choosing the wrong foods and failing to exercise are sometimes integrated into the psychology of our daily lives. At the Atlanta Medical Clinic, we can help you break free from unhealthy patterns to lose weight naturally – for as little as $7 per day.