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Watching TV

Watching less TV could lower heart disease risk, study finds

Viewing TV was linked with coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, with a substantially lower risk observed for those watching TV for less than 1h/day

turned-on flat screen television

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of death worldwide.

CHD describes what happens when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries. Although CHD can be linked to genetic traits, it is also characterised by non-genetic environmental factors including lifestyle behaviours. Of such behavioural traits, sedentary behaviour – any behaviour performed in the sitting, reclining or lying posture, while awake – has recently emerged as a risk factor for CHD.

In today’s contemporary world, the majority of us spend most of our time either sitting in front of a computer screen or phone for work or watching TV/playing video games. Reducing the time spent in such screen-based sedentary activities in addition to overall sitting should, therefore, be of priority to all of us.

A recent study led by Dr. Kim Youngwon and published in the journal BMC Medicine with a cohort which included 373,026 individuals, found three major implications linking watching TV with CHD:

  1. TV viewing was positively associated with CHD risk, with a substantially lower risk observed for those watching TV for ≤1h/day
  2. Individuals whose genetic predisposition to CHD is high may have a lower risk of CHD merely by spending less time watching TV
  3. Approximately 11% of CHD could be prevented if TV viewing time were reduced from over 2h/day to less than 1h/day

Although the majority of us enjoy sitting down and watching a documentary, series or movie on TV after our day of work, we should seriously consider the implication of such sedentary behaviour on our wellbeing. TV viewing can be replaced by so many different activities, many of which don’t require intense physical activity. Some activities worth thinking about include stretching, going for a walk, hiking, roller skating, dancing, swimming, bicycle riding, or even gardening.

See the paper here or download the PDF →

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