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Your Television May Be Killing You

Watching too much TV can be fatal: Adults who indulge for three or more hours each day may double their risk of premature death, according to new research.

Researchers, who published their findings in the Journal of the American Heart Association, said that watching television is one of many bad lifestyle habits on the rise.

“Television viewing is a major sedentary behavior and there is an increasing trend toward all types of sedentary behaviors,” said Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., the study’s lead author and professor and chair of the Department of Public Health at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. “Our findings are consistent with a range of previous studies where time spent watching television was linked to mortality.”

Experts say that a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to a number of illnesses, including hypertension and heart disease.

The investigators analyzed the behavior of 13,284 Spanish university graduates to determine the association between three types of sedentary behavior and risk of death from all causes. The behaviors were television viewing time, computer time and driving time.

The subjects, whose average age was 37 percent, with 60 percent being women, were followed for a median 8.2 years. In that time, researchers reported 97 deaths, with 19 deaths from cardiovascular causes, 46 from cancer and 32 from other causes.

The risk of death was twice as high for participants who reported watching three or more hours of TV a day, when compared with those watching one hour or less. That conclusion held true even after accounting for other variables that were linked to a higher risk of death.

As for time spent using the computer or driving, researchers found no significant link between those activities and the risk of premature death
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