Moderate TV viewing linked to premature death

“Watching TV for three hours a day can be deadly – doubling your risk of dying early,” the Mail Online reports.

The website reports on a study involving a relatively large group of Spanish university graduates. The participants were asked to self-report time spent on three types of sedentary behaviour: TV viewing, computer use and time spent driving.

They were then followed for between 2 and 10 years to see if any of the participants died prematurely, and if so, if there was a significant association between premature death and types of sedentary behaviour.

In their analysis, the researchers took into consideration potential confounding factors, such as the age, smoking status and total energy intake of participants.

The main finding from this study was that the risk of death was doubled for participants reporting three or more hours of TV viewing a day, compared to those reporting less than one hour a day. Time spent using a computer or driving was not significantly associated with risk of early death.

This unexpected association with TV watching, but not other forms of sedentary behaviour, could be due to the very small sub-group of people who died during the follow-up period – just 0.7% of the cohort. In such a small sample size, there is a significant possibility that any association is simply down to chance.
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