Watching Action Movies May Make You Fat

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By Sarah Thomas | September 5, 2014 8:13 AM EST

While action movies are thrill to watch and can pump up your adrenaline, it is also seen to result in obesity among the viewers. A new study was found that a strong link between television viewing and food consumption. Researchers have found that those who watch television tend to eat more and get used to an inactive and sedentary lifestyle.

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People watch live television news coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial in Las Vegas, Nevada in this July 7, 2009 file photo. Cirque du Soleil will develop touring shows based on the music of Michael Jackson in the third major deal by the "Thriller" singer's estate since his death last June, representatives said on April 20. The latest deal also calls for a Jackson-themed nightclub in Las Vegas and a permanent Jackson-Cirque du Soleil show that will make its debut in the city in late 2012. Pictured at left is the marquee for Cirque du Soleil's aquatic production "O" at the Bellagio hotel and casino. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

The Cornell University research also found out that while television viewing may result in overeating, they have also found that some T.V. programs make the viewer eat twice as much as the other programs. By other programs, researchers were able to notice that the bodily response of over eating is specific to action movies or soap operas with a lot of action content in them.

Aner Tal, the lead author of the study said that if one watches an action movie while eating, the mouth also sees a lot of action. "In other words, the more distracting the program is the more you will eat".

For the study, 94 undergraduates were taken. They were divided into four groups and all were given M&Ms, cookies, carrots and grapes to eat. The first group was made to watch 20 minutes of television, the second group watched a segment from the talk show 'The Charlie Rose Show', the third group watched a segment of an action movie "The Island" and the fourth were made to watch the same segment of the movie but without sound. The researchers observed that those who watched the segment of "The Island" ate more.

The study's co-author Brian Wansink, professor and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab said that those who were viewing the action movie, "The Island" ate 98 per cent more than those watching the talk and show, consuming 354 calories. They even noticed that the increase in eating was stimulated by the movie even without the sound. Those who viewed the movie without the sound ate 36 per cent more, consuming 314 calories. Those watching "The Charlie Rose Show" consumed the least amount of calories, about 215 calories.

The reason for this Tal states is that distracting programs have a fast paced editing that involves the viewer completely, to an extent that he is not aware of the amount he is eating. Because of this, people tend to eat more as they do not really know how much they are eating.

Researchers have also provided a few easy solutions to this problem and it does not involve restricting television viewing. Instead they say that pre-plating or pre-portioning the amount of snacks you take to eat while watching would help. If you take a limited amount, you will consume only that much. They also suggest carrying healthy foods while watching television.

Wansik said, "The good news is that action movie watchers also eat more healthy foods, if that's what's in front of them".

The study is published in the JAMA Internal Medicine.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
People watch live television news coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial in Las Vegas, Nevada in this July 7, 2009 file photo. Cirque du Soleil will develop touring shows based on the music of Michael Jackson in the third major deal by the "Thriller" singer's estate since his death last June, representatives said on April 20. The latest deal also calls for a Jackson-themed nightclub in Las Vegas and a permanent Jackson-Cirque du Soleil show that will make its debut in the city in late 2012. Pictured at left is the marquee for Cirque du Soleil's aquatic production "O" at the Bellagio hotel and casino. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
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