TV—And Your Health
“THE muscular heroes of TV serials that drink hard liquor all day long and continually take snacks without putting on a gram may well cause TV addicts to adopt habits that are bad for their health.”
Such was the gist of a report published last fall by the New England Journal of Medicine and summed up in those words by the Swiss daily La Tribune de Lausanne. The report also accused TV of causing people to put unlimited confidence in medical doctors, who appear on the small screen as if endowed with miraculous powers for the physical and emotional well-being of those who follow their advice.
In all fairness, it cannot be said that TV is a direct cause of illness for most televiewers. It can, however, indirectly cause health problems. For one thing, many people are unaware of the extent to which TV has modified their eating habits.
Instead of sitting down at the table to a tasty, freshly cooked meal, many families get by with a TV snack on which they nibble while lolling in easy chairs watching the “box.” Even if the food eaten is sufficiently nourishing (and often this is not so), the emotions aroused by the program can be hard on the digestion.
Television can also affect eating habits in that some commercials encourage the eating of “junk foods,” and then the youngsters just peck at the nourishing meals prepared by mother. Not only have TV ads popularized junk food but they have often given both children and adults a twisted view of what they need to eat and drink in order to keep well.
Not to be forgotten either is the part TV viewing can play in nervous fatigue and stress. Then there is the matter of sleep. In France, for instance, some of the most interesting programs are scheduled late in the evening. Not only does late-night televiewing steal hours of precious premidnight sleep but even the few hours left for bed afterward are often spent in fitful sleep. Finally, as far as physical well-being is concerned, excessive TV viewing is not the best form of relaxation for people with sedentary jobs.
Television programs mirror the society for whom they are produced. It is increasingly a society that condones homosexuality and free sex, that resorts to violence and pursues materialistic goals. Such things are currently the ingredients of many TV shows. Indiscriminate televiewing can weaken people’s moral fiber and consume precious time needed for reading material that is spiritually upbuilding.
TV can also affect family life and children’s education, as the following article will show.