Watching too much TV 'increases your risk of dying young from killer disease'

ONE in 10 heart disease cases could be avoided if Brits watched less TV, a study found.

Sitting glued to the telly stops people from burning off dinner calories and means they scoff fatty crisps and chocolate.

A Cambridge University study estimated 11 per cent of coronary heart disease cases could be prevented by limiting TV to less than an hour a day.

But Brits watched an average of 4.5 hours daily during 2020’s Covid crisis, according to Ofcom.

Dr Youngwon Kim, from the University of Hong Kong, said: “Limiting the amount of time sat watching TV could be a relatively light touch lifestyle change that could help people.”

Cambridge’s Dr Katrien Wijndaele added: “Coronary heart disease is one of the top causes of premature death so finding ways to help people manage their risk is important.”

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Heart disease leads to around 64,000 deaths per year in the UK.

One of the top risk factors is not getting enough exercise and spending too much time sitting down.

Smoking, high blood pressure or cholesterol and diabetes can also wreck the arteries.

The study of 370,000 people in the UK found watching TV for four or more hours each day led to the highest risk of disease.

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Cutting back to less than an hour slashed the danger by 16 per cent, while between two and four hours saw a six per cent reduction.

Writing in the journal BMC Medicine, Dr Kim said watching TV after dinner means fat and sugar from the meal sits in the bloodstream instead of getting used for energy.

Couch potatoes are also more likely to graze on junk food.

Scientists did not find a higher risk in people who spent free time on a computer and said they tend to get up and move more.

Chloe MacArthur, of the British Heart Foundation, said: “We know from decades of research that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to health problems later in life.

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“When the temptation hits you to watch one more episode, try standing up and stretching or go for an evening stroll instead. 

“Stopping evening snacks and ensuring you eat a healthy balanced diet can also give your heart health a boost.”

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