How does the time spent watching TV affect health?
Nowadays most people spend too much time in front of the screens of televisions, computers or smartphones. Not only does social interaction with other people suffer from this, but apparently the risk of heart disease and cancer increases with time in front of the screen.
In their current study, the University of Glasgow scientists found that spending too much time in front of technical devices can increase the risk of heart disease and cancer. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "BMJ Medicine".
Low fitness almost doubles the risk
For their study, the researchers analyzed the time that the 390,089 test subjects spent in their free time in front of TVs and computer screens. They found that the connection between high screen time and poor health was almost twice as strong in people with low fitness. The evaluated data came from the so-called UK biobank.
Sedentary behavior is very unhealthy
The results of the study may impact the public health guidelines, said study author Professor Jason Gill of the University of Glasgow. Television and time in front of computer screens in leisure time contribute to sedentary behavior, which in turn is associated with a higher risk of mortality and cardiovascular diseases, the researchers explain.
Some people are particularly at risk
The study also found that not all people are equally affected by the health risk. The connection between the time in front of the screen in leisure time and unfavorable health results is strongest among people with little physical activity, little exercise, fitness and strength, says Professor Gill. This has potential implications for the public health guidelines, because if the results are causal, reducing the time spent sitting could be an effective way to improve health for those with low fitness and strength, the expert adds.
Too long in front of the screen increases all-cause mortality
The researchers also found that spending a long time in front of the screen is associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality and a higher risk of heart disease and cancer. The results of the study were independent of physical activity, BMI, smoking, diet and other important confounding factors, including socio-economic status, the scientists explain.
Sedentary behavior must be reduced
If the health-related effects of time spent in front of the screen found in this study are causal, it suggests that people with the lowest levels of strength, fitness, and physical activity would potentially get the most benefit from the targeted health promotion measures to reduce sedentary behavior , explains study author Dr. Carlos Celis. (as)