Watching TV while eating bad for health – Nutritionist

Eating and watching television at the same time may pose a serious risk to human health, a nutritionist has said.

Speaking in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday, Opeyemi Bolajoko, a nutritionist and dietician with the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo State, said watching television while eating negatively impacts on the health as a lot of people nibble, thus become unconscious of the amount of food being consumed while inactive and which at the long run contributes to the rate of obesity in Nigeria.

Medical experts say Nigeria is facing an increasing prevalence of obesity, while people living with hypertension and diabetes are adversely affected.

Mrs. Bolajoko however stated that eating while glued to the internet, either working or streaming live contents on the social media, also has negative consequences on health.

According to her, people spend a lot of time while eating and watching TV, working on or watching the internet or cable TV thus will be prone to weight gain.

“They would be eating and would not really be conscious of what or the amount of what they are eating. So they tend to eat more. That’s why many people while eating, they eat more, and because they eat more, it can make them add weight coupled with the fact that by the time they are eating, the time they spend watching TV, they are not doing anything active, that is inactivity, which we call sedentary lifestyle.

“That alone means the food that is even being eaten is not used. It would invariably be stored in the body and that is one of the factors that have increased the rate of obesity in the population because we discovered that these days, a lot of people spend a lot of time on the internet and in watching television, so the actual time spent on physical activities is quite reduced. And when you are eating, and you are watching the internet or streaming something live on the internet, or the cable TV and you spend a lot of time, and you eat as well, at the end of the day, the person will definitely have the tendency to be fat, if that is habitual” she said.

A study published in the JAMA Network Journals, found that televisions, particularly those with action and sound, are bad for the waistline as viewers eat more while watching action films than those watching an interview programme.

According to the researchers, viewing TV encourages sedentary lifestyle just like other distracting activities such as reading, listening to radio and interacting with companions during meals.

The study included 94 undergraduate students- 57 females with mean age nearly 20 years, who were gathered in groups to watch 20 minutes of TV and were randomly assigned to one of three different programs. These included an action film, an interview and a programme without sound.

It was discovered that viewers watching the more distracting programme with high camera cuts and sound variation (action film), ate 98 percent more grams of food and 65 percent more calories than those who watched the less distracting programme- an interview.

“More distracting TV content appears to increase food consumption: action and sound variation are bad for one’s diet. The more distracting a TV show, the less attention people appear to pay to eating and the more they eat,” the researchers stated in the journal.

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