Binge TV watching a risk for older adults

Binge TV watching a risk for older adults

Shae McDonald | AAP | June 22 2017

Binge watching television shows on Netflix may be good for our stress levels but it could be harming the physical health of older Australians.

A study by University of Queensland PhD candidate Natasha Reid found people who watched high levels of TV had significantly less lower-body muscle strength than their more active peers.

Ms Reid told AAP on Thursday the amount of time an older person spent on the couch each week could "influence physical function" in their later years.

"Sedentary time is increasingly being recognised as a health risk," she said.

Ms Reid based her research on data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study.

It examined the viewing habits of almost 2000 adults aged 47 to 85 over a period of 12 years.

Ms Reid said the results had the potential to worsen because streaming sites like Netflix and Stan hadn't been introduced when most of the data was collected.

"There's definitely evidence to say that we really do need to be reducing and interrupting how long we're sitting," she said.

"Even if you don't change how much you're sitting overall, doing it in smaller bouts will be better for you."

Ms Reid, whose study was published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, said it was one of only a handful of studies around the world that had examined how TV viewing affected physical function over time.

She said she hoped it would lead to an increased focus on the negative impact TV watching could have on people's health.

(main image: jens-kreuter-85328/unsplash.com)

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