Big Brother and X-Factor addicts beware! Some recent research shows that watching too much TV can shorten life expectancy by up to 22 minutes for every hour sat in front of that addictive box in the corner.

The researchers from the University of Queensland reported that, according to their results, watching too much television was as bad for your health as overeating, smoking or doing too little physical activity.

The study was conducted using weekly TV viewing data stretching back to 1999 from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study of over 11,000 people aged over 25.

The outcome? Those that watched TV the most (6 hours a day) died 4.8 years earlier than those that watched none.

The findings suggest that substantial loss of life may be associated with prolonged TV viewing. While we used Australian data, the effects in other industrialised and developing countries are likely to be comparable, given the typically large amounts of time spent watching TV and similarities in disease patterns,’ the researchers said.

When compared to cigarette smoking the researchers point out, one cigarette reduces life expectancy by 11 minutes, the same as watching 30 minutes of goggle-box.

The Australian government does recommend that adults spend a minimum of half an hour every day doing some sort of moderate exercise or equivalent physical activity. But how many are listening?

This news will make many parents feel smug in that they knew this all along.

But whether it is the TV itself or just the inactivity that is the problem is not clearly stated. One assumes that it is the latter where the only exercise consists of occasionally heaving oneself out of the armchair to refill the glass, get more crisps and have a quick smoke break before the adverts end.

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