Increased Early Death Risk Linked To Watching Too Much TV

Gerard LeBlond for – Your Universe Online

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association reveals a possible link to premature death in adults who watch too much television. Adults who watch at least three or more hours of TV per day, double the risk of early death by any cause, according to the study.

Lead author Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, from the Department of Public Health at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, along with several colleagues from CIBER-OBN — the official Spanish agency for funding biomedical research — participated in this study.

“Television viewing is a major sedentary behavior and there is an increasing trend toward all types of sedentary behaviors. Our findings are consistent with a range of previous studies where time spent watching television was linked to mortality,” Martinez-Gonzalez stated.

The study involved 13,284 young and healthy Spanish university graduates. The average age was 37, and 60 percent of them were women. Over an 8.2 year period, the researchers assessed three types of sedentary behavior — television viewing time, time spent on a computer and daily driving time — and their association with death from all causes.

Among the participants, there were 97 deaths, 19 were from cardiovascular causes, 46 were from cancer and 32 from other causes. The researchers took into account other risk factors, and concluded that the risk of death was two times higher in the participants who watched three or more hours of TV per day.

Computer use and driving time showed no significant association with premature death. However, they also concluded that more studies were needed to confirm the association between computer use and driving with death rates.

“As the population ages, sedentary behaviors will become more prevalent, especially watching television, and this poses an additional burden on the increased health problems related to aging,” Martinez-Gonzalez said. “Our findings suggest adults may consider increasing their physical activity, avoid long sedentary periods, and reduce television watching to no longer than one to two hours each day.”

Previous research concluded that half of the US population are leading sedentary lives. The American Heart Association recommends that people get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or at least 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity per week, and moderate-to high-intensity strength training at least two days per week.

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