Spending more than three and a half hours a day in front of the television has been linked to significant memory decline in people over 50 in a recent study. The study, which was conducted by a team at University College London followed more than 3,600 people over the age of 50 for six years.
Follow-up studies showed that while screen addicts saw their “verbal memory” decline by around 10% over the six-year period, participants watching less than 3.5 hours daily only saw a 5% decline.
Researcher Daisy Fancourt said the findings raised questions about television viewing as a dementia risk.
“There has been interest for over a decade in the effect of television-viewing behaviours on cognition, but much of this literature has concentrated on children,” Fancourt said.
“Much less attention has been paid to the effects of television-viewing at the other end of the lifespan, despite it being hypothesized for over 25 years that watching excessive television could contribute to the development of dementia.
“Overall this suggests that adults over the age of 50 should try and ensure television viewing is balanced with other activities, such as reading a newspaper, listening to music, or social interaction.”