The reason, specialists say, may be that people eat more, move less when in front of the tube.

Sitting in front of the TV may be a relaxing way to pass an evening, but spending too More time in front of the tube may take years off your life. Spending your days in front of the TV may contribute to a shortened lifespan, a new review suggests.

Specialists in Australia found that people who averaged six hours a day of TV lived, on average, about five years less than people who watched no television.

For every hour of TV watched after age 25, lifespan fell by 22 minutes, according to the research led by Dr. J. Lennert Veerman of the University of Queensland.

But other specialists cautioned that the review did not show that TV watching caused people to die sooner, only that there was an association between watching lots of TV and a shorter lifespan.

Though a direct link between watching TV and a shortened lifespan is highly provocative, the harms of TV are almost certainly indirect, said Dr. David L. Katz, principal of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine.

“As a rule, the more time we spend watching television, the more time we spend eating carelessly in front of the television, and the less time we spend being physically active,” Katz said. “More eating and less physical activity, in turn, mean greater risk for obesity, and the chronic diseases it tends to anticipate, heart disease, notably diabetes and cancer.”

Another clarification for the possible link may be that people who watch excessive amounts of TV “are lonely, or isolated, or depressed, and these conditions, in turn, may be the real causes of premature mortality,” he added.

The report was published in the 15 Aug online edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

In the review, specialists used data on 11,000 people aged 25 and older from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, which included survey information about how much TV people watched in a week. Researchers also used national population and mortality figures.

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