A study titled “Causes of Death Associated With Prolonged TV Viewing” and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has suggested that prolonged hours before a TV screen tends to increase risks of major disease such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia/influenza, Parkinson’s disease, and liver disease among others.
Don't Miss: iPhone 8: Everything You Need to Know
About 92% of all Americans have a TV at home, and virtually 80% of American aging population watches TV for nearly three and a half hours every day – raising their risk to develop eight fatal diseases.
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute recruited 221,000 participants aged 50-71 years who did not have any disease at all. These individuals were monitored for TV viewing and their subsequent conditions linked to the number of hours they spent before a TV set. Scientists from the Elsevier Health Sciences also contributed to the report.
"We know that television viewing is the most prevalent leisure-time sedentary behavior and our working hypothesis is that it is an indicator of overall physical inactivity. In this context, our results fit within a growing body of research indicating that too much sitting can have many different adverse health effects," explained lead investigator Sarah K. Keadle, PhD, MPH, Cancer Prevention Fellow, Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute.
Previous studies had linked time spent before the television with elevated risks of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, but this new study further relates TV viewing with six other killer diseases across the US.
The researchers found that people who watch TV everyday for 3-4 hours are 47% more likely to die from the listed diseases, while those who watch television for over 7 hours are 47% more likely to die. The researchers however adjusted for factors such as smoking, alcohol, caloric intake, and amounts of physical exercises among others.
"Although we found that exercise did not fully eliminate risks associated with prolonged television viewing, certainly for those who want to reduce their sedentary television viewing, exercise should be the first choice to replace that previously inactive time," Dr. Keadle said.
Don't Miss: Nintendo Switch: Everything You Need To Know
The authors of the study however cautioned that more research is needed to further establish links between the amount of time spent before a TV screen and the increased risks of developing the eight mentioned diseases. "Our study has generated new clues about the role of sedentary behavior and health and we hope that it will spur additional research," they wrote.