Want To Live Longer? Don’t Watch TV Too Much

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Mar 26, 2018 | Last Updated: Apr 29, 2019

TV Potentially Harmful To Your Health

When we come home after work the first thing we do is to turn on the TV. You watch your TV until you go to bed or just continue there as well. Some people prefer Netflix and spend hours watching one movie after another or entire season of their favorite show.

The reality is that we spend more time watching TV (or online streaming platforms) than we should. This habit is unhealthy and could seriously jeopardize our health, according to the latest study.

TV and Your Health

TV has become an inseparable part of our lives and the primary means of entertainment. For many years doctors and scientists have been recommending cutting down TV viewing time.

In fact, sitting and watching television too much is associated with a higher risk of arterial vascular diseases. That said, the influence of TV on the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) has not been evaluated in the Western population.

Previous research conducted in Japan showed that risk of VTE was strongly related to hours spent watching TV. Professor Yoshiko Kubota and a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota carried out a first of its kind study[1] whose primary objective was to analyze the relationship between VTE and TV viewing.

Scientists analyzed data from 15,158 Americans ages 45-64 obtained when the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) began in 1987. Subjects were asked about their health status, weight, physical activity, and whether they smoked or not.

During five separate follow-up assessment occurring between 2009 and 2011, participants were asked whether they watched TV. At the same time, they were supposed to rate how much they watch it. Provided answers included: very often, often, sometimes, never or seldom.

Results, published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis, [2]showed that 691 cases of VTE were identified during follow-up. Persons who reported watching TV “very often” were 1.7 times more likely to get VTE compared to their counterparts who answered with “never or seldom”.

Effect of Watching T.V Info

Exercise doesn’t Counteract TV Harms

After reading that watching TV too many increases risk of VTE, it’s easy to think that exercise can counteract these effects.

Not so fast! In fact, the study demonstrated that persons who met recommended physical activity guidelines, but watch TV “very often” were 1.8 times more likely to get VTE compared to persons who responded with “never or seldom”.

Scientists explain[3] they took participants’ weight into consideration but came to the same results. Therefore, the only way to decrease the risk of VTE brought on by watching TV too much is to cut down this unhealthy habit.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stop watching television entirely, but it’s highly practical to reduce the time spent in front of your big screen.

What is VTE?

Venous thromboembolism is defined as a condition wherein blood clots form in the deep veins of the leg and can travel through bloodstream and lodge in the lungs. VTE is a major cause of death and disability worldwide. Figures show[4] that about 300,000 to 600,000 Americans develop this condition each year.

The condition can be divided into two types: deep vein thrombosis (DTE) and pulmonary embolism (PE).
VTE is one of the most preventable causes of death in the US and around the world. A healthy lifestyle is vital for prevention and this also includes spending less time watching TV.

Read NextSleep And Your Television: What’s Going Wrong?


The first study of its kind analyzed the impact of TV viewing on the risk of VTE in the American population. Scientists discovered that those who watch TV very often are at a higher risk than their counterparts who don’t.

The risk remained the same even in those who meet physical activity guidelines. For better health and VTE prevention, reduce the time you spend watching your favorite television shows.

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