3:50 pm - Sunday February 18, 5500

Diabetes Risk Increased On Prolonged TV Watching

Beware couch potatoes say researchers, linking the habit of prolonged TV watching with Diabetes Risk increases by prolonged watching of TVan increased diabetes risk & heart disease.

TV watching is a habit that is comparable to a sedentary lifestyle habit. A study has found that every additional two hours that are spent in front of TV every day raises diabetes risk by a fifth and heart disease risk by fifteen percent.

The authors say switching off the TV and pursuing something more strenuous instead could possibly stop two people in a thousand from developing these conditions.

Says lead researcher Professor Frank Hu, Harvard School of Public Health, ‘The message is simple. Cutting back on TV watching can significantly reduce risk of type-2 diabetes disease, heart disease and premature mortality.’

The researchers also say that it is not TV viewing per se that is the problem, but that people who spend many hours watching TV are less likely to lead an active lifestyle and are more likely to be obese.

They say other sedentary activities, such as sitting in front of a computer or surfing the internet, might have a similar effect and this should be studied.

The investigators examined findings of eight large studies including over 175,000 people and observed the health risks associated with TV viewing.

More than two hours of TV viewing per day increased risk of type-2 diabetes disease and cardiovascular disease. More than three hours of daily viewing increased risk of premature death, showed the statistics in the results.

The researchers estimated that for every additional two hours of TV watched a day there is an increased risk of an extra thirty eight people in every one million in the US dying from heart and circulatory disease and one hundred seventy six people in every one million developing diabetes.

The findings should be a wake-up call about the risk of leading a sedentary lifestyle, Dr Iain Frame, of Diabetes UK, said. He said evidence suggests physical regular activity can reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes by over sixty percent.

‘I’m sure we’ve all unintentionally lost evenings slumped on the sofa in front of the TV snacking on crisps and biscuits and drinking sugary drinks or alcohol. But it’s important that this doesn’t become a regular activity.

‘We should try to be selective in how much time we spend watching the TV, and try to be more physically active instead,’ Maureen Talbot, of the British Heart Foundation said.

‘We need 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week to keep our hearts healthy, so why not take a walk after work, join a sports team or even just get out for a bit of gardening in the evenings. It’s bound to be a lot more rewarding than staring at the box.’

According to the researchers, people in European countries spend around three-to-four hours a day on average watching TV, while people in the US do so for five hours a day.

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