Psychology Today last January pinpointed key health areas affecting individuals who indulge in too much television

In a 2017 Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine study of people 18 to 25 years old, more than 80 percent were identified as television binge watchers.

Psychology Today last January pinpointed key health areas affecting individuals who indulge in too much television:

- Difficulty falling asleep: “Being exposed to the content of the programming - storylines, action, imagery - stimulates brain activity and alertness. And the duration of a binge-watch session creates enough pre-sleep arousal to interfere with our ability to fall asleep. Watching back-to-back episodes of your current favorite show may feel like a relaxing escape at the end of the day, but it’s actually getting your brain fired up, not helping it wind down.”
- Weight gain
- Cardiovascular disease: An American Heart Association report in September said spending long periods in a sitting or reclining posture might be associated with cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
- Anxiety and depression
- Back pain

Individuals too far hooked by a show to contemplate pulling the plug can offset health drawbacks. Mayrene Hernandez, UnitedHealthcare’s chief medical officer, advises:  

- Work out while you watch: “Put the TV in front of the treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical, or simply do those gym exercises while watching your favorite show.”  
- Take a break: “Consider pressing pause on binge sessions with 10-minute breaks and taking a walk or playing with a pet or your child. Aim for three 10-minute sessions per day (or combine them for a total of 30 minutes) five days a week. This includes walking - just make it brisk.”
- Use TV time to stretch.

Generally, three main factors - sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity and lack of sleep - give binge watching a bad name in health-related circles.