Warning: Sitting In Front Of Your TV, Computer May Kill You

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It turns out your overprotective mother may have been right: Too much television may, in fact, kill you. A new international study is suggesting that anyone who spends more than four hours a day in front of any “screen-based entertainment” – be it television, videogames or the internet – is increasing their chance of heart attack or stroke by 113%, regardless of any exercise routine to the contrary.

The problem, however, isn’t the screen-based entertainment itself, but that it means the participant is spending that time sitting down, according to the report’s lead author, Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College in London:

Assuming that leisure-time screen time is a representative indicator of overall sitting, our results lend support to the idea that prolonged sitting is linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and premature mortality… I would speculate that the list of sitting-specific health harms will be getting longer and longer in the years to come; this area of research is in its infancy.

The report puts forward the theory that sitting reduces the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase by up to 90%, which can lead to an increase in fats like triglycerides in the blood, as well as potentially impair glucose metabolism, suggesting a possible link to type two diabetes. Ideally, according to Stamatakis, we should try and move towards a way of life where standing and moving is more common in our daily routine than sitting. Somewhere, Kinect and Wii makers are planning brand new “play our games or die” ad campaigns as you read these very words.

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