A woman watching TV

Sitting for long periods while watching television has been linked to increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or early death a new study has revealed.

This contradicts previous researches that suggested that sitting for long hours for instance at work was associated with greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study  published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that leisure-time sitting, while watching TV, but not sitting at work was associated with a greater risk of heart disease and death among the study’s more than 3,500 participants.

It further revealed that moderate-to-vigorous exercise may reduce or eliminate the harmful effects of sedentary television watching.

“Our findings show that how you spend your time outside of work may matter more when it comes to heart health. Even if you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods of time, replacing the time you spend sitting at home with strenuous exercise could reduce your risk of heart disease and death,” noted study author Keith Diaz from Colombia University.

The new study unlike the previous ones followed the 3,592 participants for about nine years so as to differentiate types of sedentary behavior.

{ Read: Coffee is not bad for your heart, new study }

The participants reported how much time they typically spent sitting while watching TV and during work. They also reported how much time they spent exercising in their down time.

Those who had logged the TV for four or more hours a day, had a 50 percent greater risk of cardiovascular events and death compared to those who watched the least amount of TV, less than 2 hours a day.

In contrast, those who sat the most at work had the same health risks as those who sat the least.

However, even the most dedicated TV watchers who did vigorous physical activity such as walking briskly or doing aerobic exercise reduced the risk of heart attacks, stroke, or death.

“It may be that most people tend to watch television for hours without moving, while most workers get up from their desk frequently,” said Diaz.

{ See Also: Physical activity in middle and older age linked to longer life }


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