Watching too Much TV Increases Risk of Heart Disease In Young Adults
A recent study found that young adults who watch TV for long hours may run the risk of heart disease in later life.
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Watching television for long hours and not exercising stiffens the arteries, especially in people aged 30 or above. This study was conducted by the researchers of Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
"The fact that your arteries aren't elastic, it predisposes you to develop hypertension in later age and cardiovascular disease," Isabel Ferreira, senior epidemiologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, told Reuters Health report.
In this study researchers wanted to closely analyze the after-effects of no exercises and absence of any physical activities. About 373 men and women aged 32 were given questionnaires to fill regarding their exercise regime, TV viewing and other habits. They were given the same questionnaire to fill at the age of 36 and ultrasound measurements were taken to find out the stiffness of their major arteries.
The researchers first analyzed the carotid artery of the participants, this artery supplies oxygenated blood to the brain and neck. It was observed that people watching television for an average of 20 minutes regularly had the stiffest carotid artery, on the other hand people not watching much TV had comparatively more elastic carotid artery. This stiffness points towards being prone to heart ailments.
The researchers also observed the femoral arteries in the legs similarly and found similar results. It was found that these after effects of sitting like couch potatoes and watching TV for long hours and not being physically active cannot be reversed by exercising later on.
"The funny thing is even if they do physical activity... that doesn't correct the bad effects of sedentary time," Ferreira said.
These stiff arteries don't cause health problems instantly, but these issues arise later on in life, Joel Stager, a professor at the Indiana University-Bloomington School of Public Health explained. Though he is not a part of this new research, he had conducted a research on the artery stiffening of young people belonging to college-going age group.
"To be honest about this particular measure, it's more of an association of future problems," Stager said. "In other words, it's predictive of cardiovascular disease down the road."
He stated that watching TV cannot be blamed for artery stiffening, maybe arteries turn stiff due to other reasons.
Ferreira on the other hand said that more research needs to be done in this matter, and she advised people to exercise regularly.
"To put it simply, be active," she said. "And on top of that don't spend more than two hours sitting in front of your television, computer or laptop per day."
The study is also published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, online in the October 7 edition.