Study links early death with too much TV

Watching TV is a habit that starts in childhood. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Startling new health findings could make TV fans think twice before curling up on the sofa to watch their favorite shows. Researchers say adults who watch TV for three hours or more each day may double their risk of early death compared to those who watch an hour or less a day.

The risk has nothing to do with watching “Amish Mafia,” “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” or “Storage Wars.” The Journal of the American Heart Association explains the risk is because TV viewing is a major sedentary behavior.

For more than eight years, researchers tracked 13,284 Spanish University graduate students with an average age of 37. They sought to determine the risk of premature death from three types of sedentary behavior: watching TV; working on a computer; and driving a vehicle.

The studied counted 97 deaths, 46 from cancer, 19 from cardiovascular causes and 32 from other causes.

The researchers say they found no significant association between early death risk and time spent working on a computer or driving compared to premature death from all causes.

But the researchers found the risk of death was twofold higher for participants who watched three or more hours of TV each day compared to those who watched less.

The study’s lead author, Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, says the findings are consistent with other studies linking too much TV viewing with death.

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