Researchers from the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) found that for every hour a person watches television life expectancy drops 22 minutes. After the age of 25 this reduced life spans an average of five years. One hour of television time was equated with the smoking of two cigarettes in terms of its impact on mortality. While there is no safe way of smoking there is an alternative to the ill health effects of watching television: stay in motion while enjoying the program.

The University of Queensland study involved more than 11,000 adults in Australia comparing their lifestyles and activity levels with general population studies. The study was emphatic in their findings stating "TV viewing time may be associated with a loss of life that is comparable to other major chronic disease risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity."

“Obviously this study is not meant to say that there is something inherently unhealthy about a television as there is with smoking,” stated Steve Bordley, CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desks. “The health danger is as acute however it is due to remaining sedentary for prolonged periods of time whether in front of a television or at an office desk. The good news is that this can be counteracted by moving while engaging in normally sedentary activities.”

The researchers linked sedentary behaviors to higher death rates from diseases such as heart disease and stroke. However, sedentary lifestyles have been shown to be a major cause of obesity which has been linked to more than 58 related diseases including most cancers.

Full details of the study were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine