05 Nov Increased Time Watching TV Linked To Greater Mortality Risk
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sarah K. Keadle, PhD, MPH
Cancer Prevention Fellow
Nutritional Epidemiology Branch
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
National Cancer Institute
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Keadle: Television viewing is extremely prevalent in the U.S. Ninety-two percent of Americans have a television at home and watching TV consumes more than half of their available leisure time, potentially displacing more physical activities. Previous studies have reported a relationship between TV viewing and increased risk of death from the two most common causes of death in the U.S., cancer and heart disease.
In our study, we followed more than 221,000 healthy Americans aged 50-71 years old for 14 years to look at this relationship. We confirmed the association with increased risk of death from cancer and heart disease. In addition, we found that TV viewing was associated with an increased risk of six other causes of death, including diabetes, influenza/pneumonia, Parkinson’s disease, and liver disease.
Also, compared to individuals who watched less than one hour per day, those who watched 3-4 hours of TV per day were 15% more likely to die from any cause, and individuals who watched seven or more hours of TV per day were 47% more likely to die over the study period.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Keadle: Older adults watch the most TV of any demographic group in the U.S. Our research that focused on inactivity associated with prolonged television viewing fits within a growing body of research indicating that too much sitting can have many different adverse health effects.
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 an important target for intervention, particularly for those watching more than 3 hours per day.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Keadle: This is the first report to identify several new associations with TV viewing and specific causes of death in the U.S. These findings should be replicated and expanded to more diverse populations. More research is also needed to determine whether these same associations are found when we consider sitting in other contexts, such as driving, working or doing other sedentary leisure-time activities.
Sarah K. Keadle, Steven C. Moore, Joshua N. Sampson, Qian Xiao, Demetrius Albanes, Charles E. Matthews. Causes of Death Associated With Prolonged TV Viewing. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2015; DOI: 1016/j.amepre.2015.05.023
Sarah K. Keadle, PhD, MPH (2015). Increased Time Watching TV Linked To Greater Mortality Risk