Excessive television viewing, regardless of genetic makeup, is linked to an elevated risk of coronary heart disease, according to the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Hong Kong.
Researchers show that, assuming a causal relationship, watching less than an hour of television every day could avert 11% of coronary heart disease cases in a study published today in BMC Medicine.
According to studies conducted by the British Heart Foundation, coronary heart disease is one of the main causes of death in the United Kingdom, accounting for about 64,000 fatalities per year. One in every eight males and one in every fifteen females in the United Kingdom dies from the disease. A stroke is more than twice as likely in people with coronary heart disease.
One of the most major contributors to the development of coronary heart disease is sedentary behaviour, which is described as sitting for lengthy periods of time rather than being physically active (CHD). Researchers examined data from the UK Biobank, a 12-year prospective research dataset with over 500,000 individuals, to see if there was a link between screen-based sedentary behaviours like TV watching and leisure-time computer use, an individual’s DNA, and their risk of coronary heart disease. These behaviours include watching television and utilising computers.
The researchers calculated a person’s polygenic risk score by looking at 300 different genetic variations linked to coronary heart disease risk. As expected, those with greater polygenic risk scores had a higher chance of getting the disease.
Those who watched television for more than four hours per day were more likely to get the condition. Regardless of their polygenic risk score, this was true. Those who watched two to three hours of television every day had a 6% lower relative risk of developing the disease, whereas those who watched less than an hour had a 16% lower relative risk. These links were established despite the absence of genetic predisposition or other well-known risk factors.
Recreational computer use did not appear to raise the risk of becoming ill.
Dr. Youngwon Kim, the study’s corresponding author and an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong as well as a visiting researcher at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, said that the study provides unique insights into the possible significance of lowering TV viewing in preventing coronary heart disease.
Those with a strong family history of coronary heart disease may find that limiting their TV viewing time reduces their risk of developing the disease.
Individuals should engage in any type of physical activity rather than sedentary behaviours to maintain their health, according to the World Health Organization. Due to a number of potential confounding factors and measurement error, it is impossible to say with absolute certainty that sitting for long periods of time and watching television increased the risk of coronary heart disease. These findings, on the other hand, support the WHO’s recommendations. It outlines a simple and measurable method for achieving this goal that can be used not only by the general public, but also by people with a high genetic risk of coronary heart disease.
This finding, along with the lack of a similar link between computer use and coronary heart disease, can be explained in a number of ways. After supper, which is our highest calorie meal, we normally watch television in the evening. Blood glucose, lipid, and cholesterol levels rise as a result. When watching television, people consume more calories than when doing other activities such as surfing the web. Finally, while watching television for long periods of time is more prevalent, computer users are more likely to take breaks from their work.
The Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong supported the research.
Story Source: Original press release by University of Cambridge. Note: Content may be edited for style and length by Scible News.
Youngwon Kim, Shiu Lun Au Yeung, Stephen J. Sharp, Mengyao Wang, Haeyoon Jang, Shan Luo, Soren Brage, Katrien Wijndaele. Genetic susceptibility, screen-based sedentary activities and incidence of coronary heart disease. BMC Medicine, 2022; 20 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12916-022-02380-7