Beside the fact that too much TV watching can turn you into a couch potato, researchers found that spending more than three or four hours in front of the TV increases risk of death caused by diabetes, heart disease and cancer in the U.S.
A growing body of research had already established an associative connection between TV watching amd cancer-related death and cardiovascular disease. For this study, the National Cancer Institute in U.S. enrolled 2,21,000 people aged 50 to 71 years. Researchers analyzed the sample in which volunteers were healthy, hearty and disease free at the start of the study.
By the end of it, the hypothesis that TV watching is connected to heart disease and cancer was confirmed. According to senior researcher Sarah K. Keadle of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, there is an explanation for that. Seeing that television viewing is the preferred way of spending leisure-time sedentary, it might also be an indicator of overall physical inactivity.
In this context, Ms. Keadle concluded the results are more evidence that too much sitting can have adverse health effects, which spurred the trend of standing desks. The researchers were surprised to find that Americans watch television for almost 3.5 hours daily on average.
Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study indicates that long hours spent in front of the television could be more of a death risk than most other causes of death like liver disorders, diabetes, pneumonia, Parkinson’s disease and others.
In today’s culture, most of the physical activity has been replaced by television watching; instead of playing outside, children bury their faces in electronic devices for long hours each day. Instead of taking a walk in the park with their significant other, people go to cinemas for a movie. We could say that television – be it the big or the little screen – has taken over our lives.
The tendency suggested by TV watching is that of an overall sedentary behavior, so the connection between this activity and death risk essentially boils down to the fact that Americans – and other populations – are slowly being killed by their own sedentary lifestyle.
Dr. Keadle noted that further investigations need to be conducted to find more evidence about the association. She also hopes this research could spur further interest in the way sedentary behavior affects our general wellbeing.
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