If you are sitting on a comfortable chair, staring off into space, you aren't burning very many calories. But you are burning more calories than you would be if you were watching television. When we watch tv, we become very still and our metabolism slows down. That's what the studies show, and other studies have shown a direct correlation between obesity and the number of hours spent watching television.
In addition to slowing our metabolism as we watch, of course, tv time takes away from available time to play sports or take a walk or go to the gym.
And let's not forget that while we watch we will be bombarded with messages urging us to EAT MORE JUNK FOOD!!!
Here's Dave Barry: "Maybe you are wondering, 'Am I overweight?' Well, here's an easy test to determine whether you have a weight problem. Go to the nearest window. Look out. If you see America, then you are overweight" (paraphase--I'm sure it was funnier when he wrote it.)
So Americans watch more and more television, and get more and more overweight. Of course television is not the entire cause of the obesity epidemic, but I really believe that the more tv people watch, the less inclined they are to take charge of their own lives.
Tomorrow: Full Disclosure and Disclaimers, and we say farewell to TV Turn-Off Week.