WWE (Watching While Eating) Syndrome! djjs blog

While having lunch or dinner what is your favourite activity?

1.  Having a healthy discussion with the family

2.  Eating with concentration on the food

3.  Watching television

We are sure, most of you must have answered in accordance with the statement as given in the study published by the Pew Research Center– 'People enjoy watching television and eating'. The results of the research further state– 'Our survey and study verifies that people have great inclination in watching television, usually for many hours at once, and they take pleasure of watching it while eating food in ample amount, that too several times a day.' In another survey results given by TGI Brazil study, it was found that more than half of the people liked watching TV while eating. The survey was done on the sample size of 10,624 persons lying in the age group of 12 to 64 years, interviewed some years back. When “I like to have my meals while watching television” was asked to them, 52% of the sample came under the category of either 'completely agreeing' or 'somewhat agreeing' with this statement.

But dear followers of WWE (Watching While Eating)! The so called pleasure of viewing TV while eating actually dis-pleasures your health. In fact, no one ever quoted that watching TV while eating is healthy. Let's have a look on how bad WWE can be for our health and fitness:

1. This act of multitasking, to the dismay of nutritionists, increases the concentrations of sugar and salts in the body: In the journal Psychological Science, a study has been published which showed that people eating or drinking while mentally distracted through means like television viewing call for greater concentrations of sweetness, sourness, or saltiness to feel content. If one is not watching while eating, then even a lesser amount of sweet tastes delicious as he is concentrating on each bite. But, it tastes bland if one is eating with the attention being divided in watching TV. As a result one asks for more amount of sweet in the dish. The same holds true with the salt intake. And, as a consequence of consuming high-sugar and high-salt foods, the risk of diabetes, hypertension and chronic disease increases in the later phases of life.

2. Watching TV while having meals makes you fat: Research validates that people who eat while being distracted tend to consume 10 percent more calories at a time. Not only this, but it also raises the quantity a person takes in the subsequent meal by more than 25 per cent. TV-viewing has been proved as a stimulator for food intake regardless of appetite. Watching television encourages us to eat more– this was also demonstrated in a Dutch study (published in journal in 2013) where the participants were offered a meal of soup as they watched a 15-minute animated film. Two groups ate pre-measured volumes of either small or large sips, while another group was free to take any volume and whatever size of sips they wanted. After the 15-minute movie, it was found that the participants of the third group consumed larger quantities of soup. The people who had the pre-specified volume took about 30 percent less than that by the third group. After the experiment, Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives in the Office of Community Health at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, New York advised– "Focus on what you are eating and drinking, enjoy the taste of the meal or snack, and try to avoid distractions when eating." 

3. Adverse effects on children: It was Harvard that related TV watching to obesity more than 25 years ago. Since then, extensive research has established the association between TV viewing and obesity, especially in children, in countries around the world. It is found that children who watch television while eating are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables daily, and more likely to eat junk food. The reason being the ads related to junk food, which attract children who get influenced by the manner in which the taste of the junk food is projected in the advertisement. Moreover, watching television while eating overrides the child's ability to know when to stop. And, this is one of the greatest reasons of today's children becoming obese. Apart from this, the rays emitted from TV affect the purity of food and when the child consumes that food, his mind too is affected. That is why we find most of the children today as hyperactive. This in the long run makes a child grow into an angry, obsessed and impatient adult. Therefore, we request parents to please turn the television off during mealtimes.

4. GERD: Today people often feel an odd burning sensation in their chest. This strong heartburn is one of the signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as GERD or acid reflux. It has been found that the problem of GERD has an association with eating too much while watching TV.

5. Fatal consequences of WWE syndrome: Cases of people suffering from a heart attack while having meals along with watching television and thereafter continue to remain sitting in front of TV are quite often these days. Many people keep sitting on the couch watching television after their meal. But, this type of habit is not healthy, especially if you have a big meal or a large stomach. However, the idiot box doesn't let one get up and take a walk after a meal. As a result, our body comes under the danger zone of heart attacks, which can even prove fatal.

Therefore, we request the ardent followers of WWE to be cautious. The issue of watching while eating hasn't yet heaved to the level of a public health hazard (like tobacco smoking, etc.). But, prevention is always better than cure. A sincere and careful attempt to stop viewing television while having meals would indeed make a difference. In the present circumstances, this would amount to nothing less than a cultural and healthy revolution.

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