Cambridge University experts suggest more than 1 in 10 cases of coronary heart disease could be prevented if people watched less than an hour of TV a day
Image: Getty Images)
According to research, one in 10 cases of heart disease could be prevented if people cut down on the time they watch TV.
Cambridge University experts said sitting down after a big evening meal – and snacking in front of the TV – all increased the risk of poor health.
They suggest that more than one in 10 cases of coronary heart disease could be prevented if people watched less than an hour of television a day.
But if that’s not possible, they say and give up chips and chocolates.
The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, used data from the UK Biobank study of 373,026 people and calculated that 11% of cases of coronary heart disease could be prevented if people watched less than an hour of television each day.
Results from a 13-year follow-up showed that, compared to more than four hours of television a day, there was a 16% lower risk of coronary heart disease if people watched less than an hour a day.
For those who watched two to three hours of TV a day, the risk of developing the disease was 6% lower compared to watching more than four hours.
The author, Dr Youngwon Kim, said: “In addition to reducing the time you spend sitting watching television, you can take other measures, such as taking a break from your television viewing and doing light exercise. between the two.
“You can also try to avoid snacking, especially on high-calorie foods such as crisps and chocolates.
“All of these measures could help better manage your risk of developing coronary heart disease.”
Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the UK, responsible for around 64,000 deaths each year.
The most common symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath. It increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The study found that spending free time in front of a computer did not appear to influence disease risk.
The team suggested possible reasons for this, including that TV viewing tends to happen in the evening after dinner, often the highest calorie meal of the day, leading to higher levels of fat and cholesterol. in the blood.
People may also snack more in front of the television than when using a computer, while television viewing tends to be prolonged. People using computers may be more likely to have their activity interrupted, they said.
Chloe MacArthur, Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “Most of us watch TV sitting down and we know from decades of research that living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to health issues later in life, including an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
“Although it can be difficult to fit physical activity into our daily routines, it only takes 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week to help reduce your risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases.
“When the temptation hits you to watch one more episode, try getting up and stretching, or go for a walk at night instead.
“Stopping the evening snacks and making sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet can also give your heart health a boost.”
It comes as a poll suggested one in three women in Britain are currently ‘taking a break’ from exercising, with low confidence preventing them from restarting.
A survey of more than 2,000 women for exercise tracking app Strava and health campaign This Girl Can found many had stopped exercising, with breaks lasting anywhere from a month to several years.
When asked if they currently take a break, 35% of the 2,026 respondents said they do, with the average break being 13 months.