Television Kills, Says
German Professor

By Kate Connolly in Berlin
The Telegraph - UK
Television is responsible for the deaths of 20,000 Germans a year, according to a professor of psychiatry.
Professor Manfred Spitzer, a neuroscientist at the University of Ulm, says he has found a direct correlation between watching excessive amounts of television and death caused by obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and diabetes.
He said: "People who watch too much have little time for sport or movement of any kind. They eat more in turn and that leads to them becoming overweight and dying earlier."
The findings are based on studies of the habits of 15,000 children carried out across the western world. The professor focused on Germany but argued that the scale of the crisis was the same across Europe.
In a book published yesterday, Beware of the TV Screen, Prof Spitzer also quantifies the damage television inflicts on the mind. "Children who watch TV have narrow horizons," he said.
He told The Telegraph: "It reduces the plasticity of their brains which remain unstimulated and fail to develop properly.
"Later they smell and taste things differently because their senses are warped, and, as adults, go on to buy unhealthy foods, similar to those they have seen advertised on television."
Television in early childhood also often led to attention deficiency, violence and depression that affected children's performance in the classroom, he said.
© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005.



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