Limiting TV time to two hours a day slashes risk of early death, study shows

0

LIMITING TV viewing to no more than two hours a day slashes the risk of early death, a study suggests.

People who spent longer in front of the box were more likely to die from heart disease, cancer and other causes.

Researchers say too much sitting, too little exercise and snacking while binge watching may be to blame.

The University of Glasgow experts examined data on 490,966 Brits aged 37 to 73 and tracked them for up to ten years.

During this period, 10,306 died, 24,388 suffered a stroke or heart failure and 39,121 developed cancer.

Approximately half of participants watched TV for three hours or more each day.

But analysis revealed 5.62 per cent of deaths could have been prevented or delayed if all participants limited TV to two hours.

The rationing would also have prevented or delayed 7.97 per cent of deaths due to cardiovascular disease.

Dr Hamish Foster from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing, who led the study, said: “This study adds more weight to the evidence that more time spent watching TV is likely to be detrimental to health.

“Our study suggests limiting TV time could delay or prevent a lot of adverse health.

“However, there is still more work to be done before we can make firm TV time recommendations.”

Our study suggests limiting TV time could delay or prevent a lot of adverse health

He added: “TV time is just one of a number of potentially sedentary behaviours, which also includes screen time watching videos on your phone, which may all contribute to adverse health outcomes.

“Also, there are many other contributory factors, such as unhealthy snacking and lower socioeconomic status, that are also strongly associated with both TV time and poor health outcomes.

“Further research is needed to understand all these factors and inform future advice and guidelines.”

To reduce the chance of the results being due to reverse causality – when poor health leads to increased TV time – participants with non-communicable disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer were excluded.

Further exclusions included all those who had an “adverse health event” within two years of recruitment.

The researchers also looked at the potential benefits of substituting TV time with healthier activities such as walking.

They found people who would benefit most from replacing longer periods of TV time with more time exercising are those who only spend very small amounts of their day doing those healthier activities.

Current physical activity guidelines in UK encourage 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week.

Sedentary guidelines only suggest people limit the time they spend sitting, with no recommendations as to what might be a low risk amount of time to spend sitting watching TV each day.

The study, Understanding How Much TV is Too Much: A Non-linear Analysis of the Association Between Television Viewing Time and Adverse Health Outcomes, is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Share.

About Author

Leave A Reply