RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Add up how much television you watch on any given day, and it's likely to come out to about five hours, according to Nielsen research data. Even as Americans have started spending more time surfing the Web, they continue to rack up time in front of the tube, which can kill your New Year's weight-loss goals, according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The researchers found that cutting down on television time could boost your weight loss by nearly half a pound per week.
THE DETAILS: Researchers from the University of Vermont installed monitoring boxes on the televisions of 36 overweight and obese adults (with body mass indexes of 25 or higher). Those 36 adults were then randomly divided into two groups, one that watched TV as it normally would and a second whose monitoring boxes shut the televisions off after three hours of viewing time. All wore armbands that monitored calorie expenditure for one week of the three-week study, and at three different points, were interviewed regarding their food intake and sleep habits.
Although there was no significant difference between how much the normal-TV-time and limited-TV-time participants ate, those who watched less television burned an average of 119 more calories per day, which added up to an average of 1.5 pounds lost over the course of the study, while those watching more TV saw no weight loss.