- The longer even young people spend watching TV, the stiffer their arteries
- This is a sign of likely heart disease in the future, say the Dutch researchers
- Maximum daily time for sitting in front of a TV or computer should be 2 hours
- The negative effect of sitting was not undone by exercising
Everyone knows that being a couch potato is bad for your health – but even 30-somethings who watch a couple of their favourite programmes a night could be storing up health problems.
Dutch researchers have found that the longer even young people spend in front of the TV, the stiffertheir arteries – a sign of likely heart disease in the future.
It’s thought that people who spend more time in front of the TV are less likely to get up and be physically active throughout the day, leading to a variety of problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Dutch researchers have found that the longer even young people spend in front of the TV, the stiffer their arteries – a sign of likely heart disease in the future
Worryingly, the negative effects of sitting were not undone by exercising, the researchers added.
Previous studies have linked TV watching to increased weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes, she and her colleagues wrote in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
For the new study, researchers wanted to see whether early signs of damage caused by too little activity could be detected in younger adults.
They used data collected from 373 women and men, who filled out questionnaires about their TV viewing, exercise and other habits at age 32 and then again at age 36.
At age 36, each participant also had an ultrasound measurement of the stiffness of several major arteries in the body.
The researchers found those with the stiffest carotid artery – the main blood vessel in the head and neck – spent an average of about 20 more minutes per day watching TV, compared to people with the most elastic carotid artery.
Similar results were seen for stiffness of the femoral arteries in the legs.
‘The fact that your arteries aren’t elastic predisposes you to develop hypertension in later age and cardiovascular disease,’ Isabel Ferreira, senior epidemiologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
She added that the ‘critical cutoff’ was about two hours per day of sitting. That’s in line with current recommendations from the American Academy of Paediatrics for maximum screen time for children.
What’s more, the negative effects of sitting did not appear to be offset by exercising. ‘The funny thing is even if they do physical activity… that doesn’t correct the bad effects of sedentary time,’ Ferreira said.
‘To put it simply, be active,’ she added. ‘And on top of that, don’t spend more than two hours sitting in front of your television, computer or laptop per day.’
Joel Stager, a professor at the Indiana University-Bloomington School of Public Health, told Reuters Health that those with stiff arteries wouldn’t face immediate health problems. But it raises their risks later on.
‘To be honest about this particular measure, it’s more of an association of future problems,’ he said.
‘In other words, it’s predictive of cardiovascular disease down the road.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2462877/Even-THIRTY-year-olds-watch-TV-night-stiffer-arteries.html#ixzz2iFmQrfR1
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