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Watching too much TV Every Day increases Risk of Death even in People who Exercise, Study Reports

Update Date: Oct 29, 2015 02:03 PM EDT

Watching too much television can increase one's risk of death, a study conducted by researchers from the National Cancer Institute found.

According to the study, people who watch at least three hours of TV per day are more likely to die from major illnesses such as diabetes, liver disease, heart conditions, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Watching too much TV also increased one's risk of dying from suicide.

The researchers added that the more TV one watches, the higher one's death risk becomes.

More specifically, people who watched three to four hours of TV daily had a 15 percent greater risk of death in comparison to people who watched less than one hour of TV per day. About 80 percent of Americans, on average, watched 3.5 hours of TV per day. People who watch seven hours or more had a 47 percent higher risk of death.

The effects of TV impacted people who exercised and did not exercise. The researchers noted, however, that inactive people should still exercise.

"We know that television viewing is the most prevalent leisure-time sedentary behavior and our working hypothesis is that it is an indicator of overall physical inactivity," the lead author of the study, Sarah K. Keadle from the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute, said in a press release. "In this context, our results fit within a growing body of research indicating that too much sitting can have many different adverse health effects."

For this study, the team recruited 221,000 people between the ages of 50 and 71, who did not have any chronic illnesses. The purpose of the study was to see if the amount of time people spent in front of the TV affected their risk of death from certain illnesses. The team had accounted for factors such as smoking and alcohol use.

The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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