Long hours of television may increase risk of coronary artery disease, a new study suggests

Watching television has long been a popular pastime for many people around the world. But if you watch TV for a long time, it’s time to reconsider your daily routine. According to a new study, regardless of genetic composition, long periods of television viewing can increase the risk of coronary artery disease. The study, conducted by a team of experts from the University of Cambridge and the University of Hong Kong, says that watching television for less than an hour a day can prevent up to 11 percent of coronary heart disease cases.

According to health experts, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main risk factors for coronary artery disease. In other words, prolonged sitting instead of physical activity increases the risk of heart disease. Researchers examined data from the UK Biobank to determine whether there is an association between screen-based sedentary behaviors such as watching TV and recreational computer use and an individual’s risk of coronary artery disease.

For their study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, the researchers compiled the polygenic risk scores from each of the more than 500,000 adults whose data they examined. A polygenic risk score shows how a person’s risk compares to others with a different genetic constitution.

dr Youngwon Kim, an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong and one of the researchers, said the research offers insight into the potential role of reduced TV viewing in preventing coronary heart disease.

The researchers found that people who watched television for more than four hours a day had the greatest risk of heart disease, regardless of their polygenic risk score. Compared to these people, people who watched television for two to three hours a day had a 6 percent lower incidence of the disease. Those who watched TV for less than an hour had a 16 percent lower rate.

These associations are independent of genetic susceptibility and other known risk factors, the researchers said, adding that leisure time spent using a computer does not appear to affect disease risk.

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Ryan Sederquist

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