Gone are the days of watching a single, weekly episode of a television series (with commercials!) or a single movie. According to Nielsen, a global information and measurement company, the average American watches approximately 153 hours of TV every month at home. That’s about five hours a day! And with Netflix binges on the rise, it’s not hard to imagine that number increasing—along with our BMIs. Here’s the problem: We’re moving less, sleeping less and are less social, but we’re still eating more. And we’re eating more of the wrong things.
Temple Northup, an Associate Professor from the University of Houston, published a study in the January 2015 issue of The International Journal of Communication and Health after he examined the relationship between food consumption and the number of hours spent in front of the television. After surveying 591 undergraduate students on their viewing, eating and drinking habits, he found that the more TV they watched, the worse their food choices became. But the duration of viewing is only the half of it. In fact, researchers from Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab found that subjects consumed 55 percent more when they watched a sad movie over a comedy and 98 percent more when they watched action content as opposed to a talk show. We are either so engaged that we’re mindlessly eating, or we’re eating to soothe our emotions. It's lose-lose.
You're probably not about to cancel any subscriptions, but you may want to start eating and watching the tube as two separate activities. And limit your watching to a few hours a week, too. Netflixed and chewed your way to the next size in pants? Check out these 50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds—Fast!