Study: Watching TV More Deadly Than Sitting Hours At Work

Researchers have been warning about the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time in the office. Previous studies described long hours of work in front of the desk as part of a sedentary lifestyle that could increase one’s risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and early death.

However, not all types of sitting are unhealthy, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers found that sitting at work has little effect to the body compared to leisurely sitting while watching TV. 

The people who watch TV for four hours or more have a 50 percent higher risk of heart disease and death, according to the study. Researchers said the findings debunked previous claims that all types of uninterrupted sitting could lead to serious health problems. 

"It may be that most people tend to watch television for hours without moving, while most workers get up from their desk frequently," Keith Diaz, study author and assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said in a statement. "The combination of eating a large meal such as dinner and then sitting for hours could also be particularly harmful." 

For the study, the researchers analyzed the lifestyle and health of nearly 3,600 African Americans from Mississippi for more than eight years. Each participant reported the time they spend watching TV, exercising and at work. 

The researchers said the heart disease and death risk declined when the participants tried exercising. No increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or death was found in people who tried 150 minutes or more of exercise a week despite spending four or more hours in front of the TV. 

"Our findings show that how you spend your time outside of work may matter more when it comes to heart health," Diaz said. 

The researchers said that even though the study focused on African Americans, their findings can be applicable to anyone with a sedentary lifestyle. The team aims to conduct further research to see if taking a short break from TV time could reduce heart disease risk. 

TV Having a sedentary lifestyle has been found linked to higher risk of obesity, having a heart disease, and early death. Pixabay