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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Too Much TV Time Increases Risk Of Heart Attack

January 11, 2011

Watching too much TV or spending too much time in front of a computer monitor can drastically increase a person’s risk for heart disease, according to a new study published in the January 18 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In fact, according to the researchers, those who spend more than four hours per day watching television shows, playing video games, or surfing the Internet are more than twice as likely to experience a major cardiac event resulting in death or hospitalization than those who engage in those activities for less than two hours per day.

According to an American College of Cardiology (ACC) press release, the study, which is the first to investigate the correlation between time spent on screen-related activities and potentially fatal cardiovascular events, also claims that “metabolic factors and inflammation may partly explain the link between prolonged sitting and the risks to heart health.”

“People who spend excessive amounts of time in front of a screen–primarily watching TV–are more likely to die of any cause and suffer heart-related problems,” said Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis of the University College London (UCL) Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, said in a statement. “Two or more hours of screen time each day may place someone at greater risk for a cardiac event.”

As part of the study, Stamatakis and colleagues discovered a 48% increased mortality risk in those spending four or more hours per day watching TV, playing video games, or using computers. In terms of cardiovascular-related ailments, those individuals experienced a nearly 125% increased risk of occurrence, independent of other risk factors like smoking, obesity, and high-blood pressure.

According to AFP reports, “Researchers studied data from 4,512 adults who took part in the Scottish Health Survey of households”¦ The information on screen time came from self-reported data about TV or DVD watching, leisure time computer use and playing video games.”

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