Too much television 'shortens life'12th January 2010
According to new research from Australia, sitting in front of the television for several hours a day could lead to an early death.
Each hour spent watching the small screen every day contributes to an increased risk of an earlier death from cardiovascular disease, according to a recent study carried out by a team from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in the state of Victoria.
Researchers tracked the lifestyle habits of 8,800 adults for the study.
They found that each hour spent in front of the television generated an increase of 11% in risk of death from all causes, an increase of 9% in the risk of death from cancer, and an increase of 18% in the risk of an earlier death from cardiovascular diseases.
The team published their findings in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
They also concluded that people who watched more than four hours a day had a 46% higher risk of death from all causes and an 80% increased risk for death from cardiovascular disease, when compared with people who watched television for less than two hours a day.
The effects remained regardless of other independent and common cardiovascular disease risk factors, including smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, unhealthy diet and excessive waist circumference.
While the study focused on television watching, researcher David Dunstan said the findings suggested that any prolonged period spent sitting down, whether it be at a desk or in front of a computer, might pose a health risk.
Dunstan, who is head of the institute's physical activity laboratory in the division of metabolism and obesity, said that the human body was designed to move, not sit for extended periods of time.
He said people in today's world did not move their muscles as much as they used to, blaming technological, social, and economic changes.
This means that people are expending less and less energy in the course of their daily lives, with some merely moving in order to shift from one chair to another.
Television viewing increases risks of an early death not only in individuals who are overweight and obese, but also those of a healthy weight.
Dunstan said that prolonged periods sitting down has na unhealthy influence on blood sugar and fat levels.
People should try to move more, more often, as a rule of thumb, he added.
The findings were based on interviews with 3,846 men and 4,954 women aged 25 and older who underwent oral glucose-tolerance tests and provided blood samples. They then reported their television viewing habits.
To calculate disease risk, researchers measured cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the participants, who were enrolled from 1999 and followed until 2006.
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Title: Too much television 'shortens life'
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 13725
Date Added: 12th Jan 2010