A new study shows that those who watch TV for three or more hours daily may double their risk of premature death.
Watching television isn’t just slowly killing your brain cells, it may be slowly killing you. Researchers found that people who watched three or more hours of television a day were at twice the risk of an early death than those who watched less.
The research team, led by Dr. Miguel Martinez Gonzalez of the Department of Public Health at the University of Navarra in Spain, recently published their findings in the Journal of the American Heart Association. A new report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association studied more than 13,000 Spanish university graduates for about eight years to determine the association between sedentary behaviors and risk of death.
During follow-up, 97 deaths occurred, of which 19 were from cardiovascular causes, 46 were from cancer and 32 were from other causes. The study results revealed that participants who reported watching 3 or more hours of television each day had double the risk of early death from all causes, compared to participants who reported watching 1 hour or less of television a day.
“Television viewing is a major sedentary behaviour, and there is an increasing trend toward all types of sedentary behaviors,” said Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, the study’s lead author and professor at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.
“When you’re watching television, you’re completely relaxed, spending no energy and there’s no tension in your muscles,” Martinez-Gonzalez said. Martinez Gonzalez said people who frequently watch television for three or more hours a day tend to be more isolated and less likely to engage in physical activities outside of their home.
“They are alone and to be lonely is a risk factor for death,” Martinez Gonzalez said. No one knows why there’s a difference between watching television and other activities and more studies need to be done to understand why television behavior increases the risk of premature death.