1. TV will turn your arteries hard

    One common habit that can harden your arteries

    Watch enough TV, and you're bound to see an ad for a funeral home urging you to make your burial arrangements in advance.

    Don't change the channel, because they're talking to you.

    Parking yourself in front of the boob tube is one of the worst things you could do to yourself, and not just because of the idiotic programming that kills brain cells.

    Being sedentary can kill the rest of your body, too -- slowing your metabolism and wrecking your health. As a result, new research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine finds that watching too much of the tube can cause your arteries to stiffen.

    Ready for the worst part? You don't need to be a TV junkie for your own arteries to turn rock hard -- just 20 extra minutes a day, according to the study.

    The study was done on 30-somethings, but believe me this is true at any age, which is why being sedentary -- whether it's plopped in front of a TV or parked in an office chair -- can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and an early death.

    There's a pretty clear answer here, and that's to turn off the TV or computer, get out of your chair -- whether it's a sofa, easy chair or office chair -- and get yourself moving.

    Don't bother with a gym, unless you're fond of flushing money down the drain. As I've said before, 30 minutes on a hamster wheel won't undo the damage caused by hours of sitting. The study proves it (again), because daily exercisers who watched too much TV still had stiffer arteries.

    The real answer is to get natural movements throughout the day. Get up, go for a walk -- around the block or even around the room -- just keep your meat out of your seat.

    While you're at it, try a hobby that has some movement built in: gardening, hiking, walking, golf, tennis -- whatever it is, make it something pleasant, and make it a habit.

  2. How TV rots little brains

    You've heard that TV can rot a kid's brain -- but that's more than just a figure of speech. Fast-paced shows like "SpongeBob Squarepants" can turn bright kids into dimwits before the next commercial break.

    In an experiment that borders on child abuse, 4-year-old kids were asked to watch nine minutes of either the fast-paced "SpongeBob" show or a gentler program called "Caillou," while a control group sat quietly and drew pictures.

    I feel dumber just typing the name "SpongeBob Squarepants," so I wasn't surprised when I read in Pediatrics that the kids who watched it did worse on a bunch of mental tests afterwards -- suggesting short-term problems with learning, attention span, memory, and executive function… all after just nine minutes of dopey programming.

    All told, the "SpongeBob" kids scored an average of 12 points lower than kids who watched "Caillou" or who sat quietly and drew pictures.

    These kids even had a harder time with delayed gratification.

    In one test, the children were timed to see how long they'd wait before eating a snack. And while the "Caillou" and crayon kids held out for an average of four minutes, the ones who watched "SpongeBob" grabbed for that snack after two and a half.

    I've already seen TV-loving critics chime in to defend "SpongeBob" and blast the study -- but the bottom line here is that 4-year-old kids shouldn't be watching ANY television at all, much less something this stupid.

    And yes, it IS stupid.

    Just to be fair, I went online and watched some "SpongeBob" -- and I feel like I lost a little of my brain, too.

  3. You can live longer if you'll just...

    But you tell me what to make of the latest studies: One finds you can extend your life by three years or more with just 15 minutes of exercise a day... while the other finds that every hour of TV shortens your life by 22 minutes. Put 'em together, and you can use one to cancel out the other.
  4. Is your TV killing you?

    It might seem drastic, but according to a new study, people who watch the most TV die the soonest. If that's not reason enough to trash the thing, I don't know what is!
  5. Turn the TV off – NOW

    A new study paints a frightening picture of what happens to crucial parent-child interaction when the boob tube is on in the background.
  6. Fat chance

    The most disturbing trend in our rapidly waist-expanding nation is the growing problem of childhood obesity.
  7. The grim reality behind "reality TV," part one

    Not only is the TV killing us slowly by rotting our brains and fattening our bodies - but we're literally living and dying by what's on the tube.

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