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Binge-watching may lead to depression, other health problems

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 7:46 PM

Watching television for hours on end can lead to depression and anxiety, a new study founds.

Deep down, you had to know that watching TV for hours on end could not be healthy.

And Tuesday research was presented proving that.

Binge-watching TV can lead to depression and anxiety, according to a report released at the American Public Health Association’s 143rd Annual meeting in Chicago.

Relying on 406 respondents who chronicled their television watching, the study found that those who watch at least two hours of TV a night – the study’s threshold for bingeing- reported feeling more depressed than those who did not, 7.6 percent, versus 3.9, says Monita Karmakar, a PhD student in the University of Toledo’s Department of Health and Recreation Professions..

Though the 35 percent who identified themselves as binge watchers said they were more anxious and depressed than those who did not, this is truly a case of the chicken and the egg.

“We do not know which came first,” Karmarkar says. “Depression, anxiety and stress led them to binge watch or if binge watching led to depression, anxiety and stress.”

Researchers found that 77 percent of those responding reported watching two or more hours a day of TV and 35 percent said they watched far more.

Those who watched more reported sleep disorders, higher levels of depression and stress. All of this was self-reported in a study conducted in January 2015 and released Tuesday.

Karmarkar’s biggest takeaway is that more studies need to be done. She knew of only one other related study last year from the University of Texas, which found that binge watchers were lonely.

Again that begs the question if they are binge watching because they have no social life or if shutting themselves in a room to watch leads to isolation.

Though most everyone seems to indulge in binge-watching at some point, it’s a relatively new phenomenon, she notes.

As of now, Karmakar did not have a warning to issue.

“There is a whole other side of this we did not study in our research,” she says. “We did not look at eating habits or exercising habits but TV watching is a sedentary behaviotr and sedentary behavuiors lead to mental health problems and medical symptoms shown to increase cardio vascular disease and risk of diabetes.”

jcutler@nydailynews.com


Health – NY Daily News

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