Too Much TV Linked To 8 Causes Of Death cover

Too Much TV Linked To 8 Causes Of Death

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Do you have a television in your home? If so, you’re part of the 92% of households in North America that do.
We bucked the trend for quite a while, but recently also caved and purchased a smart TV. We’ve always enjoyed watching movies and documentaries a couple times a week, and were getting fed up with doing so on our computer screens.


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Too Much TV Linked To 8 Causes Of Death

Screen Time

Do you have a television in your home? If so, you’re part of the 92% of households in North America that do.

We bucked the trend for quite a while, but recently also caved and purchased a smart TV. We’ve always enjoyed watching movies and documentaries a couple times a week, and were getting fed up with doing so on our computer screens. I still refuse to get cable to avoid mindless viewing.

I would estimate that our weekly television time is likely around 6 hrs or so. While still significant, this TV time pales in comparison to estimates for most Americans: 80% watch an average of 3.5 hours of television per day. That’s more than a whole day (24.5 hrs) every week spent on watching television!

No Time For Exercise

No Time For Exercise

Meanwhile, most people state that they simply do not have enough time to meet the recommended level of physical activity (150 minutes per week).

TV and Mortality

The relationship between TV viewing and risk of mortality has been receiving significant research focus over the past number of years.

Most of that research has focused on the connection between watching TV and risk of cardiovascular disease, and sometimes cancer. A new study, recently published at the American Journal of Preventive Medicine looked into the association between TV viewing and all leading causes of death in the U.S.

In this study, the authors analyzed prospective data from a whopping 221,426 individuals (57% male) aged 50–71 years who were free of chronic disease at baseline. The study began in 1995/96 and these individuals were followed until death or December 31, 2011.

Put It Down

Put It Down

The Results Are In

After taking into consideration a slew of potential confounders

(age, sex, race, education, smoking history, physical activity level, body mass index [BMI], and self-reported health status), every 2-hour/day increase in TV viewing was associated with a significantly higher risk of death due to cancer (7% increase), heart disease (23% increase), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; 28% increase), diabetes (56% increase), influenza/pneumonia (24% increase), Parkinson disease (35 % increase), liver disease (33% increase), and suicide (43% increase).

Dangerous Distraction

Dangerous Distraction

Worrisome

What’s even more alarming is that physical activity didn’t appear to protect against too much TV time; the detrimental effects of TV viewing on mortality were similar in active and inactive individuals.

Thus, simply going for a 30 min jog, followed by 5 hrs of television, does not look like a viable option.

So how can too much TV viewing increase the risk of all these different causes of death? While the authors postulate a few hypotheses, we just don’t know at this point. But don’t let that deter you from making changes today to the amount of time you spend in front of your television.

Peter

Obesity Panacea

(CC BY 4.0)

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