Binge-Watching TV May Be Linked to Premature Death (Study)

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Binge-watchers, be warned.

While on-demand services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others allow TV fans to consume endless hours of entertainment with the click of a button, a new study published in Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that adults who spend three hours or more a day watching TV may be twice as likely to die prematurely than those who watch an hour or less.

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In the study, researchers followed 13,284 healthy, college-educated Spanish adults — a subject's average age was 37 — for nearly eight years, reporting 97 deaths along the way. Among these deaths, 19 were the result of cardiovascular causes, 46 from cancer and 32 from other causes.

"It draws attention to the hazards of sedentary behavior," Dr. Keith Ayoob, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, told CBS News. "[Watching TV] is very compatible with mindless eating and mindless snacking. It may be that TV viewing is a marker of a particular lifestyle." 

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Though the study did not find a link between the time people spent performing other sedentary activities and the risk of premature death, the particular mechanism behind the relationship between TV watching and a person's risk of premature death was not determined.

Ayoob added a few simple rules to help lessen the risks: a maximum of two hours of screen time a day — the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends this for children, and he believes adults should follow suit — as well as finding ways to "be more active, but also be less sedentary," such as simple, everyday activities like taking out the trash and doing laundry.

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