TV gives you diabetes and heart disease

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Stay away from that television - it could kill you. While you might think there's no harm in checking out what the Kardashians are up to,  they could be giving you fatal diseases.

A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health researchers has found a link between prolonged TV viewing and type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and, our personal favorite, premature death.

Television's pretty popular everywhere. Europeans spend an average of 40 percent of their daily free time in front of the television set; Australians, 50 percent. This corresponds to three to four hours of daily viewing. But it's nothing compared to square-eyed America, where people report an average of five hours a day.

Professor Frank Hu and doctoral student Anders Grøntved, conducted a meta-analysis - a systematic assessment of all published studies from 1970 to 2011. It included eight large prospective cohort studies from the US, Europe and Australia.

And the results showed that more than two hours of TV viewing per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Sit on your ass another hour a day, they found, and you can add premature death to the list.

For each additional two hours of TV viewing per day, the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and premature mortality went up by 20, 15, and 13 percent respectively.

Based on disease incidence in the US, the team estimates that among 100,000 individuals per year, each two-hour hike in TV viewing per day brings 176 new cases of type 2 diabetes, 38 new cases of fatal cardiovascular disease, and 104 new cases of all-cause mortality.

That means 300,000 people popping their clogs each year because they just can't tear themselves away.Still fancy watching American Idol tonight?