June 29, 2010

USA: Elderly watch most TV, enjoy it less

SAN DIEGO,  California / United Press International / Health News / June 29, 2010

It may be conventional wisdom that children and teens watch too much TV but U.S. researchers say the elderly watch more and it may hurt their health.

First author Colin A. Depp of the Stein Institute for Research on Aging and Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and colleagues used a diary-like assessment strategy that asked 3,092 study participants ages 15-98 to measure how they spent their time and describe their everyday activities.

"We found that older people spent a great deal more time watching TV than younger people did, yet they enjoyed the experience less," Depp said in a statement. "What the study underscored is that alternatives to television as entertainment are needed, especially in older adults."

Those age 65 and older reported spending three times more of their waking hours than younger adults watching TV. TV use among older adults -- unlike time spent socializing or physical exercise -- was related to lower life satisfaction.

"Our study indicates that older adults report lower levels of positive emotion while watching TV when compared to other activities -- which is not the case in younger adults," study co-author Dr. Dilip V. Jeste, director of the Stein Institute for Research on Aging, said.

The study is published online ahead of print in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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