Turns out, your mother wasn’t entirely wrong: Scientists in Australia are reporting that sitting and watching television too much may not be the death of you, but it’ll definitely shorten your lifespan.
A report from the School of Population Health in the University of Queensland published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine claims that every hour of television watched after the age of 25 shortens your life by 22 minutes. Australians watch an average of about two hours of television a day and, as such, find their lives reduced by 1.8 years for men and 1.5 years for women, according to the study.
Dr. Lennert Veerman, one of the authors of the report, told the Press Association than television viewing is “in the same ballpark as smoking and obesity” when it comes to health risks, adding, “While smoking rates are declining, watching TV is not, which has implications at a population level.”
The health dangers come from the lack of movement the body experiences during television viewing; “Logically, we know that physical activity is good for health and so it’s not so strange that the reverse is not so good,” according to Dr. Veerman. The report follows another Australian study that says that an hour of television a day increases the risk of premature death by 8%. Clearly, Australians have declared war on television. Here’s hoping Americans listen before it’s too late.
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.