Watching 3+ hours of TV can shorten your life, says study

By Amanda Stewart,

Watching TV for three hours per day can double your risk of dying early, says a new study.

This report was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers have been led to believe that too much sitting (in front of the TV) leads to heightened inactivity among people and may be a new risk factor for early death, according to Daily Times. Inactivity also heightens risk for illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

"Television viewing is a major sedentary behaviour and there is an increasing trend toward all types of sedentary behaviours," Professor Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, who led the study, said. "Our findings are consistent with a range of previous studies where time spent watching television was linked to mortality."

The risk of dying early was twice as high for those who sat in front of the TV for three or more hours per day. Researchers did not find any evidence that the use of computers or driving heightens any risk of dying early, but all agree more research is needed.

During the course of the study there were 97 deaths: 19 cardiovascular causes, 46 from cancer and 32 from other causes, according to USA Today.

"As the population ages, sedentary behaviours will become more prevalent, especially watching television, and this poses an additional burden on the increased health problems related to aging," Martinez-Gonzalez added. "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."

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