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Too much TV watching could kill you

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Yet another study has reported that sedentary activities can result in premature death; however, it found that some other sedentary activities did not have that risk. The findings were published online on June 25 by Spanish researchers in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study authors note that sedentary behaviors have been reported to be directly associated with all‐cause mortality (death from any cause). They explain, however, that studies determining which type of sedentary behaviors are most harmful has not been investigated to any significant degree. Therefore, they conducted a study to evaluate the association between different sedentary behaviors and all‐cause mortality.

The researchers conducted a prospective (forward-looking) study termed the SUN Project. The study group comprised 13,284 Spanish university graduates with an average age of 37 years who were followed for an average of 8.2 years. Television, computer, and driving time were evaluated at entry into the study. The data was subjected to statistical analysis to assess the association between each sedentary behavior and all-cause mortality. They found that all‐cause mortality incidence rate ratios (IRRs) per two hours per day were 1.40 for television viewing, 0.96 for computer use, and 1.14 for driving,; the data was adjusted for age, sex, smoking status, total energy intake, Mediterranean diet adherence, body mass index (BMI), and physical activity. (An IRR value greater than 1 indicates increased risk). The risk of mortality was twofold higher for subjects that reported they watched television three or more hours per day, compared to those who reported viewing less than one hour per day,

The authors concluded that television viewing was directly associated with all‐cause mortality. In contrast, however, computer use and time spent driving were not significantly associated with an increased all-cause mortality. They recommended that further studies should be conducted to evaluate whether reductions in television viewing are able to reduce mortality. In addition, they recommended that further studies should be conducted to confirm the lack of association between computer use or time spent driving and all-cause mortality.

The researchers are affiliated with: the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Medical School‐Clinica University of Navarra, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain; the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; and the Department of Internal Medicine (Endocrinology), Hospital Reina Sofia, Tudela, Spain.