Extra hour of TV a day can kill - study
* From: AAP
* January 12, 2010 8:18AM
VIDEO killed the radio star, according to the famous Buggles song, but new research suggests television is killing the rest of us too.
An additional hour in front of the box each day increases the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 18 per cent, according to Australian research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Each extra hour increases by 11 per cent the overall likelihood of dying from all causes, including cancer.
"The human body was designed to move, not sit for extended periods of time," the study's lead author, David Dunstan, said.
"But technological, social and economic changes mean that people don't move their muscles as much as they used to.
"For many people, on a daily basis they simply shift from one chair to another."
Prof Dunstan, from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, said sitting for long periods was bad for blood sugar and fats - even if you were healthy.
The link between television viewing and increased mortality held true regardless of other risk factors such as smoking, poor diet, high cholesterol and obesity.
The average Australian watched three hours of television every day.
The researchers monitored the viewing habits of 8800 adults over six years before publishing the alarming results.
They found someone who watched four hours of TV each day had an 80 per cent higher risk of death from heart disease compared to someone who watched less than two hours.
They were 46 per cent more likely to die from all causes.
Prof Dunstan said the findings suggested any prolonged sedentary behaviour, such as sitting at a desk or computer for work, could be risky.
The answer? "Move more, more often."
"In addition to doing regular exercise, avoid sitting for prolonged periods," he said.
"Too much sitting is bad for health."