Couch Potatoes Produce Heart Attack

Cardiovascular events linked to TV time

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) No one really believed that sitting on the sofa watching television was doing any favors for our fitness level. But instead could such sedentary activities be affecting our hearts?

Lounging in front of the tube or staring at a computer screen for too many hours a day may cause irreversible damage to the heart that can't be reversed even with regular exercise.

"Minimize your time in front of a screen as much as possible."

Emmanuel Stamatakis, a study author from the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London, and his research team also found that watching TV or using a computer for four hours a day or more doubles the risk of a heart attack.

Participants were at more than two times the risk of a cardiac event if they clocked two hours or more of screen time each day in comparison to individuals who are front of a screen less often.

Researchers enrolled 4,512, of which slightly more than half were men, from volunteers who participated in the Scottish Health Survey in 2003. All of the participants were over the age of 35 years old. They were followed for four years.

During the study 215 cardiovascular events were recorded and 325 deaths from any cause. Even with adjustments for age, gender, obesity, previous medical history and other factors, investigators found that screen viewing time was linked to a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, and a higher mortality rate.

The risk did not appear to lower even if participants engaged in moderate or vigorous physical activity. Researchers attributed that relationship to inflammatory and metabolic risk factors.

The study was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 25, 2011
Last Updated:
October 26, 2011