As any mum can attest, finding the time to watch television when you have family commitments and work responsibilities to juggle can be difficult, so it's no surprise many of us resort to a marathon television fest when the kids are otherwise occupied.

According to recent research, however, it seems like this approach may be problematic, with researchers establishing a link between binge-watching TV and poor mental and physical health.

While it may seem appealing to resort to a trusty boxset for a few hours or earmark an afternoon to catch up on recorded shows, researchers from the University of Toledo in the United States have warned against the practice after monitoring 408 participants during a recent study - 35% of whom described themselves as binge-watchers.

Establishing a foundation for the study, researchers defined 'binge-watching' as the practice of watching television over an extended period of time - generally between two and five hours.

According to their findings, the more time participants spent binge-watching television the more likely they were to report feeling anxious, stressed or depressed.

However, researchers were eager to stress that their study did not suggest that binge-watching was the cause of these symptoms, but merely more prevalent among participants who tended to watch more television than less interested counterparts.

"We don’t know if depression, stress, and anxiety are caused by binge-watching, or if it is the other way around,” the researchers explained. “In other words, people might binge-watch as a way to temporarily alleviate preexisting feelings of stress and anxiety."

Commenting on the outcome of their study, researchers ultimately concluded: "We were ultimately able to demonstrate a relationship between binge-watching, average screen time, and mental health status."


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