Too much TV doubles early death risk
Watching three hours of more television each day may double the risk of early death compared with people who watch one or less -- even if you are young and healthy, a study suggests.
Researchers followed more than 13,000 university graduates for an average of 8.2 years and discovered that those who spent hours glued to the box were more likely to die young.
Even when the academics accounted for other lifestyle factors, watching television still increased the chance of dying prematurely twofold.
"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," said lead researcher Prof Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez of the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.
"Television viewing is a major sedentary behaviour and there is an increasing trend toward all types of sedentary behaviours," he said.
"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 ageing," he added.
The latest research assessed 13,284 young and healthy Spanish university graduates of an average age of 37, to determine the association between three types of sedentary behaviours, television viewing time, computer time and driving time and the risk of death from all causes.
The participants were followed for a median 8.2 years. Researchers reported 97 deaths, with 19 deaths from cardiovascular causes, 46 from cancer and 32 from other causes.
The risk of death was twofold higher for participants who reported watching three or more hours of TV a day compared to those watching one or less hours.
The research was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.