Have you ever paid attention to what kinds of foods you’re eating while enjoying your favorite TV shows? Chances are, the more time you spend watching, TV the greater the likelihood you have unhealthy eating habits.
TV watching encourages snacking
According to a study by the University of Houston, excessive amounts
of TV watching correlated with the consumption of unhealthy foods and
misunderstandings about a healthy diet. The primary researcher of the
study, professor Temple Northup, wanted to discover what causation might
explain this beyond the fact that TV watching is a sedentary activity
that encourages snack-eating.
upon a similar research model for looking at cancer prevention, Northup
developed measurements like ‘nutritional knowledge,’ ‘a fatalistic view
toward eating well,’ ‘nutritional intake,’ and ‘television and news
media usage,’ which he used in his cross-sectional survey of 591
subjects. These ‘fatalistic views’ involved feelings of helplessness and
being unable to understand the cause of something or prevent it.
It could be a mindset
In his review of the cancer prevention studies, Northup discovered
that when people develop a fatalistic view about cancer, they believe it
is too hard to understand how to prevent cancer and have less tendency
to avoid risky potential cancer-causing behaviors. Similarly, Northup
believes some people develop a fatalistic view about nutritional eating
and start to gravitate towards more snack foods. These people may think
that eating well is too hard to understand and just give up on it
According to Northup, “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 behaviors. It is important to understand
how people develop knowledge about nutrition, including examining
nutritional messages found within the media.”
Mixed messages in the media
The findings would suggest that consumers are being inundated with
mixed messages about eating from unhealthy food advertisements, poor
nutritional messages in entertainment programming, and conflicting
nutritional messages in news shows.
Northup stated in his report, “after all, on the one hand, heavy users
are told to eat a lot of sugary drinks and snacks, while on the other,
they are told to avoid those snacks in favor of a variety of other
foods. If all messages being presented conflict, it becomes hard to
decipher exactly what should be followed.”
While we know that everyone can benefit from healthy diets and
exercise, it is particularly important for people with lifestyle-related
and diet-related chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer, and
cardiovascular disease to get their health under control stat.
We all need to understand that a nutritious diet and healthy
lifestyle can prevent illness and improve our quality of life, and TV
certainly isn’t doing us any favors.
-The Alternative Daily
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