Too much telly could be deadly

WATCHING telly for more than three hours a day could double the risk of premature death.

This is one of the terrifying conclusions that arise from a recently conducted study in the University of Navarra. Its results are in fact consistent with previous studies suggesting that there is an inherent link between mortality and the number of hours people watch telly.

“Watching television is a popular sedentary behaviour. There is an increasing tendency towards a sedentary lifestyle,” said Miguel A Martinez-Gonzalez, co-author of the study.

The researchers looked at 13,284 healthy Spaniards holding undergraduate degrees, 60 per cent of whom were women and whose ages averaged 37 years.

The study aimed at determining the relationship, if any, between the risk of death and three common sedentary behaviours, namely watching television, working on the computer and driving.

The subjects were followed for 8.2 years and there were 97 deaths during that period: 19 for cardiovascular diseases, 46 for cancer and 32 for other reasons.

When analysing the data, researchers found that the risk of death was twice as high in those subjects who watched three or more hours of television a day, compared to those who only watched 60 minutes or less.

However, they found no link between the risk of premature death and the number of hours spent behind the wheel or working on the computer, but still say more studies should be conducted to confirm these findings.

“As people get older, their sedentary behaviour become more frequent, which increases many of the health problems associated with ageing.” said Martinez-Gonzalez.

He said adults should increase physical activity and avoid watching more than one or two hours of television a day.

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