Every hour spent watching TV each day increases the risk of dying from heart disease by almost a fifth, say scientists.
TV addicts were warned their lifestyle also increased the risk of death from other causes including cancer and the chances of dying early from heart attacks and strokes. Researchers in Australia monitored 8,800 adults for six years to see what impact watching TV had on their long term health.
During the follow-up period there were 284 deaths, 87 due to cardiovascular, or heart and artery disease, and 125 from cancer.
They found that each hour spent per day in front of the television increased the risk of heart disease-related death by 18 per cent. It also raised the risk of death from all causes by 11 per cent and from cancer by 9 per cent.
And compared with those watching less than two hours of TV, those who viewed more than four hours a day were 80 per cent more likely to die for reasons linked to heart and artery disease. The scientists warned it was not only telly addicts whose lazy lifestyles put them in danger.
Any prolonged sedentary behaviour, such as sitting at an office desk or in front of a computer, posed similar risks.
It also made no difference whether or not a viewer was overweight or obese.
‘Even if someone has a healthy body weight, sitting for long periods of time still has an unhealthy influence on their blood sugar and blood fats,’ said lead researcher Professor David Dunstan, from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Victoria, Australia.
The average amount of TV watched each day is three hours in both Australia and the UK. >