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How watching TV affects your diet


The link between watching TV and overeating 

Those who enjoy binge watching TV shows or movies probably have the waistlines to prove it! According to a University of Houston (UH) researcher, all those hours in front of the television may lead to increased snacking.

"A number of previous studies found a relationship between TV use in terms of the number of hours watched per day and unhealthy food consumption," said Northup, assistant professor at UH's Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. "In essence, the number of hours of TV you watch per day, the more unhealthy foods you eat. A common explanation for this is that TV watching is sedentary and encourages snacking."

Northup study on the relationship between television use and unhealthy food consumption was recently published in the International Journal of Communication and Health.

"There was very little prior research on the psychological reasons this relationship might exist beyond that it's a sedentary activity that encourages snacking," he said, "I wanted to investigate underlying psychological reasons that this relationship might exist."

Couch potatoes don’t understand what good nutrition is

"I found people who watch more TV had both a poorer understanding of proper nutrition and a more fatalistic view toward eating well compared to those who watched less TV. In turn, those two items predicted snacking behaviours," said Northup. "It is important to understand how people develop knowledge about nutrition, including examining nutritional messages found within the media."

Northup suggests that, because consumers are inundated with advertising for unhealthy food and messages about the latest trends in what you should (or shouldn't) eat, they develop these poor attitudes toward and knowledge about eating well.

Recommended reading: How too little sleep can cause weight gain

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