Too much TV, too little exercise might dull young adult brains

Young adults who watch a lot of TV and engage in very little exercise are risking more than their waist lines. By middle age, their brains may be getting out of shape too, a new study suggests.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, followed more than 3,000 people, starting at an average age of 25 and ending when they took cognitive tests 25 years later.

Those who watched the most TV and got the least physical activity were the most likely to get low scores on some of the thinking tests – something that researchers say is worrisome at a time when young adults may be spending more and more hours sitting and looking at screens. TV time has been shown in other studies to be a good marker of overall inactivity.

“There are so many more opportunities for sitting now that it’s even more of a concern,” than when the study started, in the 1980s, said Tina Hoang, a researcher at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco. She was a co-author on the study led by Kristine Yaffe of the University of California, San Francisco.