Too much TV, too little exercise can shorten your life, health experts warn

Obesity and adult-onset diabetes are twin epidemics, say the experts, who are predicting that these ailments will acquire the dimensions of a pandemic in coming decades. Yet both can to large extent be prevented by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, the contemporary Greek lifestyle involves long hours watching television and the consumption of fast food and snacks. A study of 253 patients conducted by the Obesity-Diet-Metabolism-Endocrinology laboratory at the Hygeia Hospital showed that one in four people who are obese watch television more than 21 hours a week, while those in the sample watched 16 hours a week on average. Department director Giorgos Panotopoulos presented the results to the press last month, prior to the Third Postgraduate Seminar on Diabetes and Sugar Diabetes Type 2 in Athens. The more television the participants watched the more abdominal fat they had. The majority of cases (67 percent) ate snacks (crisps and biscuits) while watching television. Experts say that a large packet of crisps contains 1,000 calories, the same as 3 kilos of fillet steak. More than half those questioned said they did not exercise, and only 18 percent said they exercised for three hours a week. According to international studies, an increase of two hours a day in television watching by a population is accompanied by an increase of 23 percent in the incidence of obesity and a 14 percent increase in the incidence of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), or adult-onset diabetes, every year. Christos Zoupas of the Diabetes Center explained that most cases (80 percent) of adult-onset diabetes are related to obesity, but moderate, steady weight loss can reduce the incidence of the disease to about 50 percent. More than 1 million people in Greece are estimated to suffer from adult-onset diabetes, with 30,000 new cases recorded every year. NIDDM diabetes is the fastest-growing chronic disease in the world. Its causes include limited sports activities at schools, the decreasing number of playgrounds, rising consumption of fast food, and stress.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.