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Avoiding a Sedentary Lifestyle

Dunstan says the implications were simple and clear -- too much TV time can be deadly.

“In addition to doing regular exercise, avoid sitting for prolonged periods and keep in mind to move more [and] more often,” Dunstan says. “Too much sitting is bad for health.”

He and his co-authors note that previous research has shown that moderate to vigorous exercise reduces premature death. Less has been known, though, about the deadly consequences of sedentary behavior. The evidence, they write, is now clear.

“These novel findings from a large population-based cohort of Australian men and women indicate that prolonged television viewing time is associated with an increased risk of all-cause and [cardiovascular] disease mortality,” the researchers write. “Each one-hour increment in television viewing time was found to be associated with an 11% and an 18% increased risk of all-cause and [cardiovascular] disease mortality."

“Furthermore, relative to those watching less television, there was a 46% increased risk of all-cause and an 80% increased risk of [cardiovascular disease] mortality in those watching four [or more] hours of television per day.”

That was true even when factoring in other known risks, such as smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, and diet, the authors say, as well as leisure-time exercise and waist circumference, the study says.

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