Heart disease: How much TV do you watch? The time associated with a lower risk

Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk in 2021

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Coronary heart disease describes a condition in which your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries. Regardless of your genetic make-up, watching too much telly can boost your risk of this condition, warns the study published in BMC Medicine.

From TV series to movies and Netflix to Amazon Prime, there are many tempting options to tune into after a full day of work.

However, the study, from the University of Cambridge and the University of Hong Kong, suggested that too much telly time could compromise your heart.

Luckily, you don’t have to say goodbye to your favourite TV shows and films just yet.

The researchers also found that if people watch for less than one hour each day, 11 percent of coronary heart disease cases could be prevented.

It’s no secret that heart disease is a major killer, responsible for more than 64,000 deaths in the UK each year, according to the British Heart Foundation.

Considered to be the leading cause of death, coronary heart disease can also make you more prone to strokes.

Lifestyle choices are one of the major drivers for heart disease, with sedentary behaviour being considered an offender.

The study explained that sitting for long periods of time rather than being physically active could increase your risk of this disease.

To examine the link between time spent in screen-based sedentary behaviours such as TV or computer use, the researchers looked at an individual’s DNA and their risk of heart disease.

They examined the data from the UK Biobank, a study of more than 500,000 people who have been followed up for about 12 years.

The study found that people who watched more than four hours of TV daily were at the greatest risk of the disease.

Those who watched telly for two to three hours a day had a relative six percent lower rate of developing the condition.

However, people who only watched for less than an hour daily had a 16 percent lower rate.

“These associations were independent of genetic susceptibility and other known risk factors,” the study noted.

Unlike with TV, leisure time spent in front of a computer didn’t seem to influence the risk.

Dr Youngwon Kim, assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong, said: “Our study provides unique insights into the potential role that limiting TV viewing might have in preventing coronary heart disease.

“Individuals who watch TV for less than one hour a day were less likely to develop the condition, independent of their genetic risk.

“Limiting the amount of time sat watching TV could be a useful, and relatively light touch, lifestyle change that could help individuals with a high genetic predisposition to coronary heart disease in particular to manage their risk.”

One of the reasons explaining this connection might be that TV viewing tends to happen after you had your dinner – “usually our most calorific meal”.

People might also snack while watching, compared to when being in front of the computer.

“Lastly, TV viewing tends to be prolonged, whereas individuals using their computer may be more likely to break up their activity,” the research added.

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