The new report took a look at three types of sedentary behaviors among 13,284 Spanish university graduates to assess the risks each of them have. The three behaviors were sitting in front of the computer, driving, and watching TV. The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found no association with premature death for those who used the computer or drove, but did find those who watched TV for three or more hours at a time each day doubled their chances of an early death.
This increase was found even after taking into account a number of other factors related to premature death. Before the study even began, all those who indicated they had cancer, diabetes or heart disease were excluded from participating. All were highly educated, not over weight and lead an active lifestyle. The average age of participants was 37 years old. Once they had the results, they took pains to control for such things age, gender, smoking, weight and more. They even controlled for people’s tendency to eat more unhealthy food when watching TV, and eliminated deaths where poor health may have lead to watching more TV than usual. Even after controlling for all these factors, the connection remained.
Not only did they remain, they were quite alarming. For example, when compared to those who watch an hour of TV or less a day, they found for every additional two hours a person spent in front of the TV, their risk of cancer rose 21%, their risk of heart disease rose 44% and their risk of premature death from all other causes rose 55%.
The study’s findings aren’t considered conclusive at this point, but only preliminary so more research needs to be done. What they do say is there is some type of connection between watching TV and premature death. The findings add yet another possible negative consequence of watching large amounts of TV to the growing list researchers are finding.
There is an easy way to combat this, although it does take more effort than reclining on a couch and watching your favorite programs. The research indicates limiting sedentary activities like the amount of TV you watch, getting more exercise and eating a healthy diet can go a long way to being healthier. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.
For those who have a bad TV habit, it’s easier to break it than you might think, by making small adjustments to the way you do watch TV.
(Photo courtesy of Rafiq Sarlie)