A group of researchers from US National Cancer Institute found that staying in front of TV for more than three to four hours per day may boost your risk of dying from heart disease, cancer and other life-threatening conditions.
Sarah Keadle, lead author of the study and researcher with the NCI, explained that the team based their study on the premise that TV watching is an indicator that the viewer leads a sedentary life. Researchers said that everybody knows that this activity is the most popular leisure time for people that lack physical activity.
Researchers explained that their findings were consistent with a growing body of evidence showing that too much sitting can have dreadful effects on people’s health. In their study, researchers sifted through data on more than 221,000 people with the average age of 60.5 who had no history of chronic illnesses.
The findings revealed that there is a significant link between binge-watching TV and a higher risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. But the study authors also found significant associations between television viewing for more than four hours and a higher mortality risk from various causes including liver disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and Parkinson’s.
Study participants were followed for 14 years. At the end of the study, authors concluded that people who reportedly watched TV for three to four hours per day had a 15 percent higher risk of dying from all causes than their peers that watched TV less than one hour per day.
Moreover, study participants who said that they were watching TV for seven or more hours per day had a nearly 50 percent risk of dying before the study was over. The risk was significant after three or four hours for most participants that researchers have monitored.
Nevertheless, scientists adjusted the findings for other risk factors that may contribute to a higher mortality risk in study participants. They controlled the findings for factors such as age, sex, income, substance abuse, smoking, and overall health. After the adjustments, the newly discovered associations still remained statistically significant.
The research also revealed that the ill effects of watching TV apply to all people regardless whether they exercise or not.
A paper on the findings was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Past studies had also shown that spending too much time watching TV can lead to negative outcomes. For instance, a study carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that watching TV could lead to type 2 diabetes, while a paper released by the University of Rhode Island revealed that watching television decreases the viewers ability to maintain an optimal personal health.
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