Study finds binge TV watching hazardous to health

27 July 2016

People spending long hours in front of their TVs could be putting themselves at increased risk of death from a blood clot in the lung, researchers warn.

A lung blood clot (pulmonary embolism) typically develops as a clot in the leg or pelvis due to inactivity and reduced blood flow. The clot could break free and make its way to the lungs and lodge in a small blood vessel, posing a serious threat.

More than 86,000 people in Japan, aged 40 to 70 participated in a study that polled them on their TV watching habits. They answered questions as to how many hours they spent watching television. They were then followed for 19 years. Over the period 59 participants died of a pulmonary embolism.

As against those who watched less than 2.5 hours of television a day, the risk of dying from pulmonary embolism increased 70 per cent among those who watched 2.5 to 4.9 hours daily.

The risk was 40 per cent greater for each additional two hours of television viewing, and 2.5 times higher among those who watched five or more hours a day, according to the study.

The journal Circulation published the results of the study on 25 July.

According to commentators, the actual risk might be even worse than the findings suggest, and the danger was set to increase yet further as people binge watched even more on streaming services. More than a quarter who suffer pulmonary emoblism without having treatment could die. Deaths were often sudden.

"Pulmonary embolism occurs at a lower rate in Japan than it does in Western countries, but it may be on the rise,'' said lead researcher Professor Hiroyasu Iso, from Osaka University. "The Japanese people are increasingly adopting sedentary lifestyles, which we believe is putting them at increased risk," reported.

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