TV is a Dumb Way to Die
Too Much TV or Computer Leisure Time is Bad for Your Heart
And here we thought our parents saying that TV "fries your brains" was another one of those "I walked 12 miles in the snow to get to school" kind of lies. We hate to break the news to you, but turns out that time you spend on the treadmill (or thinking about going vegan) will NOT erase some of the negative health effects of the time you spend sitting on your butt watching re-runs of The Office.
According to a new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, individuals who spend four or more hours of leisure time per day sitting in front of a screen (whether it be computer or TV) have a 48 percent increased risk of death from any cause, and a 125 percent increased risk of having a heart problem that results in hospitalization, compared to those who spend less than two hours a day relaxing in front of the TV/computer. (Although, in our defense, a few hours watching the Walking Dead is hardly what we would call "relaxing.")
If you believe you're not at risk for cardiovascular problems because you exercise and don't smoke, think again. The associations that the researchers found were independent of variables such as smoking, body mass index and exercise among the subjects. And, yes, the study's authors' conclusions accounted for the fact that sick people might spend more time in front of screens.
"Recreational sitting," defined as sitting time outside of work, appears to cause certain biological changes that are harmful to heart health. Individuals who spent four or more hours of leisure time per day in front of a screen had two times more C-reactive protein (CRP) than individuals who spent less than two hours a day in front of a screen. As CRP is a marker of inflammation, researchers have hypothesized that inflammation over time and the improper bodily regulation of lipids could be responsible for cardiovascular problems experienced by recreational sitters.
It's a good thing the networks started to stagger show seasons. We'd all have heart attacks by next year if Mad Men, 30 Rock and True Blood were all on back to back.
American College of Cardiology (2011, January 11). Couch potatoes beware: Too much time spent watching TV is harmful to heart health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110110164736.htm