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Older adults watch more TV than younger people, enjoy it less

June 29

We usually scold our children and teenagers for watching too much TV. It turns out that their grandmas and grandpas spend even more of their time watching TV, and it is not good for them either, according to researchers at the Stein Institute for Research on Aging and Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

In a study published online in advance of publication in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, UCSD researchers examined television use in a large, nationally representative sample that was collected by the Center for Health and Well Being at Princeton University. Using an innovative, diary-like assessment strategy called the Day Reconstruction Method, study participants were asked to measure how they spent their time and describe their experience of everyday activities.

“We found that older people spent a great deal more time watching TV than younger people did, yet they enjoyed the experience less,” said first author Colin A. Depp, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry with UCSD’s Stein Institute for Research on Aging. “What the study underscored is that alternatives to television as entertainment are needed, especially in older adults.”

The study looked at 3,092 Americans, aged 15 to 98, in survey data collected in 2006. Adults over 65 reported spending three times more of their waking hours watching TV than did younger adults. Older adults did not seem to experience the same “stress buffering” effects that younger adults did from watching TV, and TV use among older adults — unlike time spent on other leisure activities, such as socializing or physical exercise — was related to lower life satisfaction.

via Older adults watch more TV than younger people, enjoy it less.

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