Too much TV can kill: More than two hours of television a day increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks, researchers say
- Research shows that watching too much TV is more likely to cause a death from heart attack or stroke while sitting to watch movies than at work
- Couch potatoes can also move less, while ‘blue light’ can interfere with sleep
- Researchers at Glasgow University surveyed 490,000 people in the UK
Watching too much television increases the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke, researchers found.
And sitting down to look at the small screen is worse than at work or while driving, as viewers tend to snack at the same time, the data suggests.
Couch potatoes may also exercise less, while blue light from a television screen can interfere with their sleep.
The study looked at 490,966 people aged 37 to 73 who enrolled in the UK Biobank study.
They reported how much television they watched on a normal day, and the data was then analyzed.
Watching too much TV increases the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke, researchers found. And sitting down to look at the small screen is worse than at work or while driving because viewers tend to snack at the same time, the data suggests (stock)
Those who watched more television were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks or strokes, and died of it.
They were also more likely to get or die of cancer – mainly lung cancer.
Researchers concluded that if everyone in the study had watched no more than two hours of television a day, nearly eight percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease could have been prevented.
And more than five percent of the total deaths would not have occurred.
Researchers found that if someone who only walked half an hour a day swapped half an hour of television time for a walk, they could reduce the risk of death by 10 percent.
It also found that exchanging TV for a closed eye was healthier for those who slept less than six hours a night.
Dr Hamish Foster, who led the study at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing, said, “Our study found that time spent watching television is linked to some poor health outcomes.
‘[The research] supports the idea that people who watch television for more than two hours can replace part of that time with more walking or sleeping, if they don’t do much, to possibly improve their health. ‘
But Dr. Joy Leahy, of the Royal Statistical Society, said, “It is unlikely that one study alone is strong enough to definitively determine that watching less than exactly two hours of TV per day minimizes health risks.”
The study was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.