View Full Version : We're Doomed (or at least I am)

01-21-2011, 07:17 AM
American College of Cardiology (http://www.acc.org/)
Couch potatoes beware: Too much time spent watching TV is harmful to heart health

More than 2 hours a day increases one's risk of heart disease

Spending too much leisure time in front of a TV or computer screen appears to dramatically increase the risk for heart disease and premature death from any cause, perhaps regardless of how much exercise one gets, according to a new study published in the January 18, 2011, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Data show that compared to people who spend less than two hours each day on screen-based entertainment like watching TV, using the computer or playing video games, those who devote more than four hours to these activities are more than twice as likely to have a major cardiac event that involves hospitalization, death or both.
The study the first to examine the association between screen time and non-fatal as well as fatal cardiovascular events also suggests metabolic factors and inflammation may partly explain the link between prolonged sitting and the risks to heart health.
"People who spend excessive amounts of time in front of a screen - primarily watching TV - are more likely to die of any cause and suffer heart-related problems," said Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, MSc, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, United Kingdom. "Our analysis suggests that two or more hours of screen time each day may place someone at greater risk for a cardiac event."
In fact, compared with those spending less than two hours a day on screen-based entertainment, there was a 48% increased risk of all-cause mortality in those spending four or more hours a day and an approximately 125% increase in risk of cardiovascular events in those spending two or more hours a day. These associations were independent of traditional risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, BMI, social class, as well as exercise.
The findings have prompted authors to advocate for public health guidelines that expressly address recreational sitting (defined as during non-work hours), especially as a majority of working age adults spend long periods being inactive while commuting or being slouched over a desk or computer.
"It is all a matter of habit. Many of us have learned to go back home, turn the TV set on and sit down for several hours it's convenient and easy to do. But doing so is bad for the heart and our health in general," said Dr. Stamatakis. "And according to what we know so far, these health risks may not be mitigated by exercise, a finding that underscores the urgent need for public health recommendations to include guidelines for limiting recreational sitting and other sedentary behaviors, in addition to improving physical activity."
Biological mediators also appear to play a role. Data indicate that one fourth of the association between screen time and cardiovascular events was explained collectively by C-reactive protein (CRP), body mass index, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol suggesting that inflammation and deregulation of lipids may be one pathway through which prolonged sitting increases the risk for cardiovascular events. CRP, a well-established marker of low-grade inflammation, was approximately two times higher in people spending more than four hours of screen time per day compared to those spending less than two hours a day.
Dr. Stamatakis says the next step will be to try to uncover what prolonged sitting does to the human body in the short- and long-term, whether and how exercise can mitigate these consequences, and how to alter lifestyles to reduce sitting and increase movement and exercise.
The present study included 4,512 adults who were respondents of the 2003 Scottish Health Survey, a representative, household-based survey. A total of 325 all-cause deaths and 215 cardiac events occurred during an average of 4.3 years of follow up.
Measurement of "screen time" included self-reported TV/DVD watching, video gaming, as well as leisure-time computer use. Authors also included multiple measures to rule out the possibility that ill people spend more time in front of the screen as opposed to other way around. Authors excluded those who reported a previous cardiovascular event (before baseline) and those who died during the first two years of follow up just in case their underlying disease might have forced them to stay indoors and watch TV more often. Dr. Stamatakis and his team also adjusted analyses for indicators of poor health (e.g., diabetes, hypertension).


01-21-2011, 08:18 AM
Seems like there are too many variables to consider for this to be taken seriously. How many people in the world have desk jobs that require them to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours or more every day? I trust common sense and my own experience more than a supposed doctor conducting a study on a vague subject who may or may not have a hidden agenda.

If it is true then i guess we are doomed and i can stop the exercise i do 5 days a week ;)

Steel General
01-21-2011, 10:11 AM
I might as well, cash in my insurance & my 401K - as I'll probably drop dead any second now :)

01-21-2011, 11:47 AM
When seeing research reports like this I always think about the book "Freakonomics", to put my mind at ease... there's likely to be some other cause, probably the people they interviewed were all cartographers ;)

01-21-2011, 11:56 AM
Ha Ha! I loved the freakonimics books!!

01-21-2011, 12:42 PM
The solution is simple guys. All we have to do is jack up our desks and stand instead of sit. All these people that were sitting were the ones who dropped dead. Just keep your butt in the air...hey, maybe we should design a new seat?...perhaps it's the pressure on our backsides that is causing the damage...LOL.

01-22-2011, 01:32 AM
Due to the industry I am in, I spend all day on my feet doing manual labour. It is beneficial to my heart, lungs, psyche, and everything else. I consider it quite silly that spending hours on the computer during off-time would negate that. If the subjects got about the same amount of exercise but the ones who used computers and TVs had more heart problems, I must ask, what did the other people do? Since they could not be exercising, they would be sitting. What is the difference between sitting while reading, writing, or playing a board game and sitting while watching a screen? What, exactly, does a TV or computer do to increase the risk of heart problems? I think there is something the study missed.

01-22-2011, 01:37 AM
And I, on the other hand, work on a computer --- so I am doomed by working, even if ALL I did in my free time was exercise. How ridiculous that only free-time sitting is blamed. Therefore my 8-plus hours of PC time doesn't doom me yet 2 hours of non-work PC time does. I declare shenanigans.

Mark Oliva
01-22-2011, 01:58 AM
I can confirm this report. I died several years ago after spending too much time behind my PC. This is no joking matter. This report should be taken seriously!

01-22-2011, 03:59 AM
Well see, that's your problem. you were behind your PC! you're supposed to sit in FRONT of it.

01-22-2011, 12:31 PM
I can confirm this report. I died several years ago after spending too much time behind my PC. This is no joking matter. This report should be taken seriously!

This had me in stitches :) Thanks for the laugh.

The more I read the comments, the more the study sounds like a load of bull to me.

01-22-2011, 01:08 PM
I've spent way too much of my life looking at studies like this and that's why I changed careers...a well designed experiment can confirm any hypothesis that you can think up. It's pretty much a "duh" thing - 2 hours watching tv or 2 hours jogging...who's going to be healthier? Hmm, I wonder. People often confuse correlation with causality so the first question I ask in an experiment like this one is the old chicken and egg - which came first? Did watching tv lead to heart problems or were the heart problems already there (symptoms like short breath, lethargy, age, diet, etc) forcing the person to give up less strenuous activities like exercise and opt for passive activities like tv and computers? We'll never know, really. Plus this was all self-reporting and that can never be trusted. Lastly, they were all Scottish. :) Heh heh. It looks like some folks just whipped out some findings in order to keep their funding to continue sitting at their desks while telling other people to go out and jog.