Habitual couch potatoes should better watch it. Recent research indicates that watching TV regularly for as much as two hours can dramatically increase heart disease risk. Spending more and more time in front of the TV or computer screen for two hours or more may lead to a twice likely chance for people to experience a cardiac event that can lead to hospitalization or even death.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of the University College London in the United Kingdom. It involved studying data taken from 4,512 adult that took part in the Scottish Health Survey. The information concerning time spent on the TV was provided by the respondents and also included data on DVD watching as well as PC use and playing video games.
After studying the data, the researchers discovered that by comparing people who spent less than two hours a day watching TV to those who spent four or more hours of daily TV watching, there was a 48 percent higher risk of death from any cause on the part of the latter. For those who spent just two or more hours daily in front of the TV after work, there was a 125 percent higher risk of experiencing heart attacks and similar such events. The associations found were independent of the traditional risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, obesity, social class as well as exercise.
The findings may show that there may be a need to address the type of recreational activity that people choose after working hours. “It is all a matter of habit. Many of us have learned to go back home, turn the TV set on and sit down for several hours — it’s convenient and easy to do. But doing so is bad for the heart and our health in general,” says Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, MSc of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, United Kingdom. Prolonged sitting as well as inactivity may seem to have to play a role on this.
“And according to what we know so far, these health risks may not be mitigated by exercise, a finding that underscores the urgent need for public health recommendations to include guidelines for limiting recreational sitting and other sedentary behaviors, in addition to improving physical activity,” Dr. Stamatakis further added. The study was published in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Source: American College of Cardiology. “Couch potatoes beware: Too much time spent watching TV is harmful to heart health.” ScienceDaily 11 January 2011. 13 January 2011 <http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2011/01/110110164736.htm>