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A little TV, a little folding of the hands to rest.


An Auburn University (Alabama) report from the last year states that men who spend three hours a day in front of the tube have double the rate of obesity than those who discipline themselves to exercise less than an hour a day. Because it is unlikely some mysterious TV rays can be blamed, two other possibilities might be considered. For instance, it's possible that the physically unfit person is more apt to spend time in idle pursuit than in more strenuous recreation. Second, it could be that watching TV simply leaves less time for more strenuous activities. (A third possibility might be that, with all the commercials for food--especially junk food--anyone watching TV is likely to snack excessively.) Whatever the reason, it seems that those who are heavy on the subject of television become heavy, period.

But there is hope--even for those loath to "working out." An eight-year study of 13,334 healthy men and women by the Institute for Aerobic Research in Dallas reports in the Journal of the American Medical Association that even modest amounts of exercise can significantly alter life expectancy for the better. The researchers used a treadmill to exercise the subjects before giving them a fitness score. They then followed each person on a regular basis for eight years, after which 283 persons had died. The mortality rate of the least fit males was more than three times that of the most fit; among females it was worse--more than four times. Not only were cardiovascular diseases more common among the less fit, but cancer as well.

The most encouraging thing noted in the study was that even being in the group only 20 percent above the bottom in fitness score was about as beneficial as being in the top group. A little fitness goes a long way! So arise, ye couch potatoes, and hit the pavement! Even as little as a brisk half-hour daily walk offers the same possibility of longevity as the punishing runs of those benighted souls who slosh around in the rain and sleet during mid-winter.
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Title Annotation:obesity and life expectancy
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jun 1, 1990
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