Will Poverty Save Our Nation's Sedentary Television Enthusiasts?

First, the bad news:

Life as a couch potato could be deadly. For every two hours of daily television time, the risk of diabetes increases by 20 percent over 8½ years, the risk of heart disease rises by 15 percent over a decade, and the chances of dying from any cause jump 13 percent over 7 years. That’s according to a new analysis of eight major studies (including more than 200,000 people) from the Harvard School of Public Health, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

But there is a bright spot!

For all the talk about competitive threats from the likes of Netflix Inc or Apple Inc, it is rising poverty among households that TV executives say is their biggest source of concern. Executives from News Corp, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc, speaking at the annual Cable Show industry event, made clear the industry needed a stronger housing market and better jobs picture to win new customers and keep existing ones…. “There clearly is a growing underclass of people who clearly can’t afford it,” [Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt] said. “It would serve us well to worry about that group.”

It is a scientific fact that no one can watch more than thirty-seven minutes of network television without tossing the remote at the wall in a fit of disgust that leads to such self-loathing that even reading a book seems preferable to further viewing. So long as the number America’s impoverished continues to expand, we may get them off their couches yet!

Photo by Mr. T in DC, from Flickr.