Mens Sano In Corpore Sano


  I’d been wondering why my MD brother had no TV in his place (none!) till I began paging through another of his JAMAs (Journal of the American Medical Association).  I figured it out when the following heart pounding sounding title caught my eye: “Television Viewing and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and All-Cause Mortality”.

  Made me think of the phrase above from the first line of Juvenal’s Satire X which reads in full: “It is to be prayed that the mind be sound in a sound body”.  It will come as no surprise that I’m in agreement and don’t think that either will be enhanced in front of a tube.  (cf “couch potato category tab below right.)  Still, it is fun to see actual peer reviewed evidence (for which I need a dictionary to understand!) in support.

  The study “revealed a linear increase in risk with the number of hours per day of TV viewing for both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease; the association with all cause mortality appeared stronger with TV viewing time of greater than three hours per day”.

  Interestingly, the authors also relate that for a group of nine year olds, reduced time in front of the television slowed increases in body mass index even without change in physical activity.  No thoughts of “free” Happy Meals and “Livin’ It”.

  Or like Mason Williams* wrote in 1969, “Network television wants to keep you stupid so you’ll watch it”.  And: “Television is not a salesman with his foot in your door, it’s a salesman with his foot in your head”.  

*Mason Williams is an incredible creative force.  He recorded his “Classical Gas” on twelve string guitar in 1968 and won two Grammys.  He was a writer for the groundbreaking Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour the cancelation of which was in part the motivation for the book the cover of which you see above.  He was briefly head writer for Saturday Night Live and could be said to have conceived of music videos and recorded the first one.

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