Older Adults Watch More TV Than Younger Individuals

But they enjoy it less and don't seem to experience stress-buffering effects
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults watch more television than young and middle-aged adults, but they enjoy it less than younger individuals, according to research published online June 29 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Colin A. Depp, Ph.D., of the University of California at San Diego in La Jolla, and colleagues evaluated 3,982 Americans aged 15 to 98 using a variant of the Day Reconstruction Method, which is a survey method that measures how individuals experience life. Data were gathered in 2006 and analyzed in 2008 and 2009.

Compared to young adults, the researchers found that adults over the age of 65 years spent three times more waking time watching television. However, older adults enjoyed television less, in contrast to stable enjoyment associated with other leisure activities. In addition, older adults did not seem to feel the stress-buffering effects of watching television experienced by young and middle-aged individuals. The researchers also found that greater time spent watching television, unlike time spent on other leisure activities, was linked to lower life satisfaction.

"Older adults watch more television but enjoy it less than younger people. Awareness of this discrepancy could be useful for those developing interventions to promote reduced sedentary behaviors in older adults," the authors write.

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