Television’s Deadly Impact: How Watching TV Could Kill You

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Americans have long had a love affair with television — a 2012 Nielsen report found that the average American spends 34 hours per week watching live television. No big deal, you say? Consider this: A new study found that adults who watch more than three hours of TV a day is doubling their his or her of premature death.

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study looked at the risks associated with sedentary behaviors (e.g., watching TV, spending time on the computer, driving) on 13,284 young graduates. While no associations were discovered with spending time on the computer and driving, the authors of the study did find a correlation between the amounts of time spent watching TV and early death.

Yes, sitting and watching television is a low-risk activity, but the researchers noted that watching TV for hours essentially means you’re not keeping active and perhaps that you are skipping your daily activity for it. The American Heart Association recommends individuals get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. And if you think sedentary behavior cannot be a threat, then know that a recent study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that people who spend most of their time sitting have up to a 66 percent risk of developing certain types of cancer.