Watching TV and Adult Fitness
Study shows relationship between watching TV as a child and aerobic fitness later in life.
Did your parents limit your television watching, to your dismay? They may have had good intentions—and you may be benefitting now! Researchers found a clear relationship between watching TV while growing up and cardiorespiratory fitness in adulthood. The findings are published in the European Journal of Sports Science (2022; doi:10.1080/17461391.2021.2023659).
Researchers from Australia and South Africa gathered longitudinal data on 449 male and female participants, noting television viewing habits at ages 5, 8, 10, 14, 17 and 20. Then at age 28, participants took a VO2 max test and a physical activity questionnaire.
Data analysis showed a clear connection between the amounts of television watching, cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity levels in later life. High levels of watching TV during childhood and adolescence had negative downstream impacts on cardiovascular fitness in adulthood. Study authors support more public health messages to parents, schools and government to increase physical activity levels throughout youth and adolescence.