Researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Michigan discovered that people are not only at risk of cancer and heart disease - illnesses commonly associated with long term laziness - but also diabetes, influenza, pneumonia, Parkinson's and liver disease.
For 14 years, researchers at the National Cancer Institute studied more than 221,000 people ages 50-71, all of whom were free of any disease at the start of the study. The researchers then grouped people into three groups according to how much TV they watched:
- screen skimmers (less than one hour a day),
- average TV watchers (3-4 hours a day), or
- bona fide couch potatoes (7 or more hours).
Compared to the screen skimmers, average TV-watchers were 15 percent more likely to die from any cause, while the couch potatoes were 47 percent more likely to die—even when the researchers accounted for things like caloric intake and smoking.
Even worse: Some people sat for so long, it essentially erased any benefits that their exercise routine might have had on their health outlook. People who exercised were just as likely to suffer adverse effects from hours of TV watching as those who didn’t, the study authors said.
“Our results fit within a growing body of research indicating that too much sitting can have many different adverse health effects," said Sarah K. Keadle, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and a cancer prevention fellow at the NCI, in a press release.
Concerned about your habits? “Certainly, for those who want to reduce their sedentary television viewing, exercise should be the first choice to replace that previously inactive time," Keadle said.
' Given the increasing age of the population, the high prevalence of TV viewing in leisure time, and the broad range of mortality outcomes for which risk appears to be increased, prolonged TV viewing may be a more important target for public health intervention than previously recognised.'