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Cardiovascular Diseases

Spending Less Time Watching TV Could Cut Coronary Heart Disease Risk

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Spending Less Time Watching TV Could Cut Coronary Heart Disease Risk | Pharmtech Focus

Watching too much TV is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease regardless of a person’s genetic makeup, according research published today in the journal BMC Medicine.

Leading cause of death

Coronary heart disease is one of the UK’s leading causes of death, responsible for around 64,000 deaths each year.

In the UK, one in eight men and one in 15 women die from the disease. Being physically inactive is one of the major risk factors for coronary heart disease.

Researchers used data from the UK Biobank, a study which includes over 500,000 adults, to investigate links between time spent in screen-based sedentary behaviours such as TV viewing and leisure-time computer use, an individual’s DNA, and their risk of coronary heart disease.
They created a polygenic risk score for each individual – their genetic risk of developing coronary heart disease based on 300 genetic variants known to influence their chances of developing the condition. As expected, individuals with higher polygenic risk scores were at greatest risk of developing the condition.

Risks associated with sedentary lifestyle

In the study, people who watched more than four hours of TV per day were at greatest risk of developing coronary heart disease, regardless of their genetic risk score.

Compared to these individuals, people who watched two to three hours of TV a day had a relative 6 per cent lower rate of developing the condition, while those who watched less than an hour of TV had a relative 16 per cent lower rate.

These associations were independent of genetic susceptibility and other known risk factors. Leisure time spent using a computer did not appear to influence disease risk.

Chloe MacArthur, our senior cardiac nurse, said: “Most of us watch TV sitting down, and we know from decades of research that leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to health problems later in life, including an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

“While it can be difficult to weave physical activity into our daily routines, it only takes 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week to help reduce your risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases.

“When the temptation hits you to watch one more episode, try standing up and stretching, or go for an evening stroll instead. Stopping evening snacks and ensuring you eat a healthy balanced diet can also give your heart health a boost.”

 

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