Watching TV may harm your heart health more than sitting at work

In a new study, researchers found that not all types of sitting are equally unhealthy for people’s heart health.

They found that leisure-time sitting (while watching TV)—but not sitting at work—was linked to a greater risk of heart disease.

The research was led by a team from Columbia University.

Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to a higher cardiovascular disease and early death.

In the study, the team examined more than 3,500 participants.

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 downtime.

They found that sitting while watching TV is more harmful to the heart and that moderate-to-vigorous exercise may reduce the harmful effects.

People who watched TV 4 or more hours a day had a 50% greater risk of heart disease and death compared to those who watched 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.
The team also found that moderate to vigorous physical activity such as walking briskly or doing aerobic exercise could reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

The findings show that how people spend their time outside of work may matter more when it comes to heart health.

The team says that even if people have a job that requires them to sit for long periods of time, replacing the time they spend sitting at home with exercise could reduce the risk of heart disease and death.

In future studies, the team will examine why TV watching may be the most harmful sedentary behavior and whether the timing of sedentary behavior around dinner time could be a contributing factor.

One author of the study is Keith M. Diaz, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral medicine.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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