Olympic TV watch­ing rates as a marathon test

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

lovers plan­ning to clock up long hours on the couch dur­ing the Olympic Games have been warned they could be putting their own health at risk by watch­ing elite ath­letes per­form in Lon­don. Di­eti­tians and doc­tors have united to warn against the dan­gers of snack­ing in front of the TV overnight and not get­ting enough sleep. The lat­est Newspoll sug­gests 86 per cent of Aus­tralians will be watch­ing on tele­vi­sion. A quar­ter will tune in ‘‘as much as pos­si­ble’’. With Lon­don nine hours be­hind the eastern states, most events will be run and won overnight lo­cal time. The Di­eti­tians As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia is wor­ried peo­ple will turn to sug­ary, salty and fatty treats to stay awake. ‘‘While we might be in­spired by look­ing at elite ath­letes, it doesn’t mean it will trans­late into us eat­ing health­ier and be­ing more ac­tive,’’ as­so­ci­a­tion spokes­woman Julie Gil­bert says. The Bris­bane-based nu­tri­tion­ist says when peo­ple were dis­tracted by TV they of­ten in­dulged in ‘‘mind­less eat­ing’’ and lost track of what they had con­sumed. The key, there­fore, is to only take small por­tions to the couch. ‘‘Don’t grab the big block of choco­late be­cause you’ll end up eat­ing it all,’’ Ms Gil­bert says. ‘‘In­stead, cut off lit­tle small pieces and sit down with that.’’ The nu­tri­tion­ist is also en­cour­ag­ing sports fans to do some ex­er­cise be­fore watch­ing the Games or, at the very least, get up from the couch dur­ing the ad breaks. She sug­gests do­ing push-ups, sit-ups or us­ing hand weights so that ‘‘be­fore you know it you’ve ac­tu­ally had a re­ally good work out’’. Al­ter­na­tively peo­ple could watch their heroes while us­ing an ex­er­cise bike or tread­mill. The Aus­tralian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion be­lieves the Olympics is a ‘‘spe­cial oc­ca­sion’’ and health pro­fes­sion­als shouldn’t be ‘‘killjoys’’. But pres­i­dent Steve Ham­ble­ton warns that while stay­ing up late and snack­ing oc­ca­sion­ally is OK, peo­ple shouldn’t go ‘‘berserk’’ over the next fort­night. ‘‘If you spend five nights in a row with­out hav­ing proper sleep you’ll pay for it,’’ he said. ‘‘We don’t want peo­ple to have car ac­ci­dents be­cause they’re fa­tigued and fall asleep on the way home from work.’’ Dr Ham­ble­ton rec­om­mends re­plac­ing chips and choco­late with health­ier snacks like pop­corn with­out sea­son­ing and ‘‘sen­sa­tional’’ cel­ery.

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