But experts are hoping that the micro-magnitude of this change -- simply cutting TV time -- may be manageable for some people.
"It's easier to think about turning off the TV and seeing what happened than enrolling in a weight-loss class and attending," Otten said.
"It was a small change, and I think a small change is how we start to make a bigger change," added Dr. Marina Kurian, medical director of the program for surgical weight loss at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
As for Crouse, he didn't lose any weight in the study but has shed 15 pounds since it ended.
But he attributes it not to less TV watching, which he has resumed, but to the fact that the study tuned him into the number of calories he was consuming.
"I learned how much I ate. I was burning up almost 4,000 calories a day, but I was eating 4,000 calories a day," he said.
He cut back to 3,000 calories a day and lost weight.
Visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for more on the benefits of physical activity.
SOURCES: Jennifer Otten, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Palo Alto, Calif.; James Crouse, Essex Junction, Vt.; Marina Kurian, M.D., medical director, program for surgical weight loss, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Eugenio Lopez, R.N., diabetes educator, Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Education Center, Corpus Christi, Texas; Dec. 14/28, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine
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