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Research links watching TV to an increased risk of death

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Regardless of if you are overweight or physically fit, the hours you spend watching TV each day may be shortening your life according to findings published today in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

In the six-year study involving 8,800 Australian adults, researchers found that people who watched more than four hours of TV a day had a 46 percent increased risk of death from any cause and were 80 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who spent less than two hours a day watching TV. The results held even after factoring in health data such as diet, smoking and fitness regimen.

In a story in The Independent, lead researcher David Dunstan, PhD, explained that TV habits were only part of the problem. The real health threat is a sedentary lifestyle. Dunstan says:

A lot of the normal activities of daily living that involved standing up and moving the muscles in the body have been converted to sitting. Technological, social, and economic changes mean that people don't move their muscles as much as they used to-consequently the levels of energy expenditure as people go about their lives continue to shrink. For many people, on a daily basis they simply shift from one chair to another-from the chair in the car to the chair in the office to the chair in front of the television.

Recent research at Stanford also showed that watching TV lowers your activity level and can negatively impact your health. In the study, overweight adults who cut their daily television time in half burned 120 more calories a day.

Photo by Stars Alive

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