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Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, explores how watching too much television can harm your health.

In today’s world, it is impossible to avoid watching television. It is quickly becoming a favourite pastime for both children and adults. While it could be argued that watching educational programmes helps one’s knowledge quotient, it is widely accepted that the risks outweigh the benefits.

“The human body is not designed to sit for extended periods. Thus, sitting in front of the television for extended periods causes many health problems. While for many, it’s impossible to eliminate TV viewing time from one’s life, we should all be mindful of how much time we spend watching,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


Murray outlines 8 health hazards of watching TV and tips on reducing screen time in your home.

1. Higher Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

Sedentary behaviour, or sitting for long periods rather than being physically active, is one of the significant risk factors for coronary heart disease According to a study published in BMC Medicine, if people watched less than an hour of television per day, 11% of cases of coronary heart disease could be avoided.

2. Sleep Pattern Disruption

Doctors have always emphasised the importance of getting enough sleep to maintain good health. Too much television is bad for your sleep. The light from the television stimulates the brain while decreasing melatonin production, which promotes sleep. Melatonin levels rise in the body, particularly in the evenings, to help it relax for the night. Too much television disrupts this natural balance, resulting in fatigue and irregular sleep patterns.

3. Increased Chance Of Developing Diabetes

Researchers’ scientific studies have concluded that excessive TV viewing increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Every two hours (per day) of TV viewing increased the risk by 14%.


4. Increased Risk Of Obesity

Obesity is a risk factor for adults and children who watch too much television. Sitting for long periods causes the body’s metabolic rate to slow. As a result, more fat is stored.

5. Possibility Of Developing Attention Deficit Disorder

Children who spend extended periods watching television are more likely to develop neurological disorders and have difficulty concentrating. The rapidly changing images and sounds are said to be hazardous to young children.

6. Increased Risk Of Developing Asthma

A study in the United Kingdom on 3000 children aged less than one year to 11 years found that watching TV for two or more hours per day increased their risk of developing asthma.

7. Slow Mental Development

Scientists have concluded that watching television has no benefits for children under two. These children learn far more from human interaction than from watching a screen. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, children over the age of two should not watch more than two hours of television per day.

8. More Strain On The Eyes

It is no secret that excessive TV viewing puts undue strain on the eyes. Avoid watching TV for long periods in a dark room to prevent eye strain. Increasing the amount of light in a room raises the average amount of light, causing your irises to close slightly, allowing less light in and potentially causing less eye fatigue.

Screen Time Reduction Tips

Limiting your screen time to a few hours per day may be unrealistic, but these tips can help you and your family reduce screen time.

  • Exhibit responsible electronic usage: Parents serve as role models for children. Remember that when you binge-watch your favourite Netflix series, you are not setting a good example for your children.
  • Make time to disconnect: Set a time for your entire family to disconnect from the phone, TV, and computer. When everyone agrees to put down their devices, it allows your family to spend quality time together.
  • Make use of parental controls: There are tools available to help you filter or block unwanted content. You can even set daily screen time limits that will lock your children out of apps after a certain amount of time has passed.
  • Encourage participation in other activities: Nowadays, it is easy for children to become reliant on electronics for entertainment. Instead, encourage them to participate in non-screen activities such as playing outside, reading a book, or playing a board game.
  • Keep screens out of bedrooms: You should make it a rule that electronic devices are not permitted in the bedroom. Tablets and other handheld devices your children may be tempted to use at night may also interfere with their sleep.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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