Most people love nothing more than flopping down in front of the TV at the end of a busy day, but a new study has shown our habit might be slowly killing us.
Researchers at the University of Queensland found that every hour of TV watched by people over the age of 25 was associated with an average drop in lifespan on 22 minutes.
Over time, this could shave years off the life of a dedicated TV viewer.
Study leaders say that it is not TV itself that is shortening our lives, but the way we watch it — sitting down and almost completely inactive.
Television also affects our eating habits, often causing watchers to overeat because they are distracted and unable to realise their body telling them they are full.
The good news is inactivity and poor diet choices encouraged by TV watching are easily remedied simply by being aware of them.
Try to be active while watching TV. Cleaning, cooking or even exercising while your favourite shows are on can counteract unhealthy inactivity — with the added bonus of making the usually unenjoyable tasks done before you know it.
Avoid eating in front of the television and if you need snacks while watching a movie, choose healthy options. Vegetable sticks provide a satisfying crunch while being low in energy and high in nutrients and can be served with a healthy spread, like hummus, as a great alternative to chips and dip.
Air popped popcorn can also be a good choice, giving you the benefits of wholegrain without the fat and salt of traditional popcorn.
This information is provided by the Sanitarium Nutrition Service.
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