Watching your weight on TV Featured

9:58am EDT July 22, 2002

Does TV make us fat? Not exactly. But new evidence shows that men who spend more time in front of the television are more sedentary, eat more snacks and are generally more obese. Similar results have been found for women.

“When you’re watching TV, you not only tend to remain sedentary, but you’re exposed to food commercials that might influence you to eat more,” says Steven Gortmaker, a senior lecturer at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Gortmaker suggests the following to escape a TV-watching rut:

  • Log in. Tape a piece of paper to the back of your remote control or TV Guide, and every time you watch a show, note how long you sat there and what you ate. After a week, look it over.

  • Stop sleeping with it. Having a TV in your bedroom greatly increases viewing time, so keep the TV in a less accessible place and you’re less likely to vegetate.

  • Walk away. Don’t feel that you have to replace viewing time with formal exercise right away. Start small. Next time you’re tempted to settle in front of the set, walk the dog or visit a neighbor.