Cut TV time to less than an hour a day to protect your heart - study

Reducing time spent in front of TV could prevent 11 per cent of cases of coronary heart disease, the research found.

For most people, there’s no better time to sit down and relax in front of the TV, watching a favourite show than in the evening, after dinner. You may plan to watch just an episode but that becomes an entire season of the show. Well, new research has found that this habit could harm your heart.

One hour maximum

A team of scientists from the University of Cambridge and University of Hong Kong estimated that one in 10 cases of heart disease could be prevented if people spent less time watching TV. Using data from the UK Biobank study on 373,026 people over a 13-year period.

They also looked at their genetic susceptibility to heart disease. Analysis of this data revealed that adults who sat watching TV for longer periods of time had a 16% heightened risk of developing heart disease. One of the research authors, Dr Katrien Wijndaele said incorporating breaks into sitting could help people live longer.

Coronary heart disease is one of the most prominent causes of premature death, so finding ways to help people manage their risk through lifestyle modification is important.
thumbnail
Getty/ D-Keine

TV vrs computers

The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, noted that spending time behind the computer even for leisure did not pose the same risk as watching TV. The scientists theorized that this could be because most people tend to sit in front of their TVs after a typically high-caloric dinner, thereby increasing the levels of fats and cholesterol in the blood.

People are also more likely to indulge in snacking when watching TV than when using their computers for leisure. Dr Youngwon Kim, assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong said:

In addition to reducing the actual amount of time you sit watching TV, there are other measures that you might take, such as breaking up your TV viewing and doing some light exercise in between. You could also try to avoid snacking, particularly on high calorie foods such as crisps and chocolates.

Coronary artery disease affects more than 1.6million men and one million women in the UK, killing about 64,000 Britons a year.

Read more:

High cholesterol: These visible clues on your skin signal risk of heart disease

Heart disease: Eating avocado twice a week reduces risk by 21%

Heart disease warning: Dissolvable paracetamol contains more salt than a McDonald’s Big Mac

Heart attack: You're more likely to have a heart attack at this time of day and temperature Heart attack: You're more likely to have a heart attack at this time of day and temperature