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Too much TV wrecks your heart, says new study

No matter how much exercise you do, sitting in front of a TV or computer screen increases your risk of heart disease.

Spending more than two hours in front of a TV after work more than doubles the risk of heart disease, according to the new UCL study.
Spending more than two hours in front of a TV after work more than doubles the risk of heart disease, according to the new UCL study.
Image: Lee Jordan via Flickr

COUCH POTATOES beware – new research produced by a London university has suggested that spending significant lengths of time in front of a TV or computer screen could seriously increase the risk of heart disease.

The study, published by academic researchers from University College London, examined the effects of sitting in front of a screen during non-working hours, and found that people who spent as little as two hours a day after work watching TV were more than twice as likely to suffer a “major cardiac event”.

“Our analysis suggests that two or more hours of screen time each day may place someone at a greater risk of a cardiac event,” Emmanuel Stamatakis, a researcher at UCL’s department of epidemiology and public health, said.

“Many turn the TV on and sit down for hours, but it is bad for the heart and our health.”

Those who spent more than two hours per day – outside of working hours – in front of a screen were 125% more likely to have heart problems, the study found.

Worryingly for the laptop generation, the effect was not exclusive to television screens: those who played video games, or even just sat on computers surfing the internet, were also likely to fall ill.

Though the research did not seek to examine the causes of the more frequent heart problems, it did account for other factors such as a person’s weight, lifestyle, and even how much exercise they did.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, were described as urgent given the fact that a “majority of working age adults spend long periods being inactive while commuting, or being slouched over a desk or computer,” Stamatakis said.

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Gavan Reilly

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