Reducing TV Time Lowers Bad Food Habits
Published Wednesday, 06 June 2012 17:28 | Written by Amwal Al Ghad
People who reduce their coach habits such as TV time are more likely to make effortless healthy changes in their diet such as eating less junk food and saturated fats.
“The key take-away is that people can change their unhealthy eating and activity behaviors, contrary to what many health professionals believe. By focusing on just two targets (increasing fruits/vegetables & cutting down leisure screen time) people were able to make large changes in those behaviors rapidly and they also reduced saturated fat intake without even trying,” says lead researcher Bonnie Spring.
During their study, Bonnie and colleagues from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine assigned 204 adults one of four different lifestyle treatments and compared the effect of those changes.
The treatments included increasing fruit and vegetable intake and exercise, decreasing fat and sedentary leisure, decreasing fat and increasing exercise and increasing fruit and vegetable intake and decreasing sedentary behavior.
Before the trial, all of the participants were following four unhealthy diet and activity behaviors including not eating enough fruit and veggies, eating too much saturated fat, not getting enough moderate physical activity and watching too much TV.
For all participants, changing two of their unhealthy habits led to success beyond just the ones they were directly focused on.
But, those who were engaged in eating more fruits and vegetables (an apple a day), and spending less time doing sedentary activities like watching TV were particularly more successful, according to the report published in Archives of Internal Medicine.
“Just making two lifestyle changes has a big overall effect and people don’t get overwhelmed,” said Spring. “Americans have all these unhealthy behaviors that put them at high risk for heart disease and cancer, but it is hard for them and their doctors to know where to begin to change those unhealthy habits.”
Researchers believe that eating more fruits and vegetables which is a goal within many peoples’ reach gives them enough confidence to make more healthy changes in their diets.
“We think health behaviors are interrelated - they tend to complement or substitute for one another. So cutting down TV removed the cue that usually triggered people to do the paired behavior of snacking on junk while lounging on the couch,” the senior author concluded.