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Research says watching TV every day might be slowly killing you

Published May 26th, 2022 5:03PM EDT
Watching TV with popcorn
Image: Christian Delbert/Adobe

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Watching more than one hour of TV each day may increase your risk of heart disease, a new study says. Researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemioligy Unit and the Universities of Cambridge and Hong Kong published new findings in the journal BMC Medicine. In fact, their findings say that you should watch less than one hour each day to avoid possible issues.

The risks sedentary lifestyles bring

family watching TVImage source: Amazon

One in eight men and one in 15 women die from coronary heart disease. As such, it is one of the world’s leading causes of death.  Additionally, many people with coronary heart disease are more likely to suffer from a stroke. Which could lead to even more health issues down the line. That’s why so many are looking for ways to mitigate the risk of heart disease in people of all ages.

Because it is so dangerous and so prevalent, scientists have been looking for ways to lower the risk of heart disease in people for decades. Now, this new study says that watching too much TV could increase your risk of heart disease. But, just how would that work?

Well, one of the major risk factors for coronary heart disease is a sedentary lifestyle. This kind of lifestyle often involves sitting for long periods of time, such as when you watch TV with your family at night. As such, things like watching TV, playing video games, and other seated events have often been tied to an increased risk of heart disease.

But a sedentary lifestyle isn’t the only risk factor. Other factors like how you sleep, can also affect your risk of heart disease.

Can watching too much TV increase your risk of heart disease?

person watching TV, doing so everyday could increase risk of heart diseaseImage source: stokkete/Adobe

But these researchers wanted to examine the link between time spent on screen-based sedentary behaviors, a person’s DNA, and their overall risk of heart disease. To do this, they looked at data from the UK Biobank. The data they inspected included results from more than 500,000 adults, all of which were followed for around 12 years.

Does watching too much TV increase your risk of heart disease? The data seems to say so. The researchers found that people who watched four hours or more of TV per day were at a greater risk of the disease, regardless of their genetic risks. But it’s important to note that it isn’t necessarily watching the television that increases your risk.

It’s the fact that watching TV is tied so heavily to a sedentary lifestyle. As such, cutting some of that time spent sitting on the couch can help lower your risk of heart disease. Of course, it isn’t going to completely negate those risks. But, it is a start for those who want to lower the risk of heart disease without necessarily changing their lifestyle drastically at the start.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.