Almost everyone in America enjoys some downtime, relaxing in front of the television, watching their favorite shows. While there’s nothing wrong with some relaxing time in front of the tube, how many times do you find yourself reaching for some chips or candy?

According to a recent study, the link between TV and junk food is reliable, causing you to break your diet or develop bad eating habits that can take a toll on your health. By learning more about the link between eating junk food and watching TV, you can catch yourself in the act and stop falling into the negative pattern.


Research study linking TV and junk food

Healthy eating habits can change your life for the better. Most people who decide to eat healthily spend their days planning healthy and nutritious meals, without overeating junk food.

However, this new study conducted by Professor Temple Northup of the Jck J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston, TX, says that even the healthiest eaters can quickly break their healthy eating habits if they spend too much time in front of the TV.

While this study offers further insight into the link between TV and junk food, it’s not the first of its kind. In 2014 a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Nutrition, and Metabolism focusing on the link between junk food and TV. This study focused more on unhealthy eating habits found in children aged 9-11 during TV time, while the most recent study is aimed towards adults. Both studies offered similar results.

Researchers involved in the study said there’s a psychological connection between watching TV and eating junk food, but the exact psychological connection is unexplainable. He stated that watching TV is a sedentary action, and this type of activity often associated with eating unhealthy foods, and further research into the psychological connection will be conducted.

Poor knowledge and fatalistic views on nutrition linked to TV usage

The study consisted of over 500 participants, around the age of 22. The participants in this survey showed that those who spend more time in front of the TV develop unhealthy eating habits. And the more fatalistic views on nutrition because of the information provided through shows and advertisements. Even those with healthy eating patterns are more likely to be drawn towards unhealthy food choices while spending time in front of the TV.

The lack of knowledge along with the fatalistic views is said to be one of the main reasons why those watching TV choose unhealthy snack foods rather than healthy ones. However, when the time spent watching TV is focused on news or news based programs rather than entertainment programming, eating junk food didn’t prove to be an issue, as the news watchers have a better understanding of the importance of healthy eating habits.

Conflicting messages about food

The messages users receive while watching TV suggests that unhealthy eating habits are okay. According to Professor Northup, users are provided with contradictory messages during TV time, and it’s not surprising that they give into the temptations. Most TV users are suggested to eat a lot of snacks and drink sugary drinks, which is presented in a way that makes eating junk food seem appealing.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is a growing problem in the U.S, and it’s mainly linked to high junk food consumption while watching TV. In the past 30 years, the obesity rate among children and adolescents has more than quadrupled, showing that eating unhealthy while watching TV is more than just a bad habit, but could cause serious complications with health in the long-run.

While it may be tempting to grab a bowl or chips or popcorn while sitting down and watching that new release, it’s essential that you choose a healthy snack if you must have one. Educating yourself on the risks associated with unhealthy eating habits and devoting yourself to a healthier you will help you get over the temptation and stick to foods that feed your mind, body, and soul.