Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dying to watch TV

The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (aka AusDiab) is the largest Australian longitudinal population-based study examining the natural history of diabetes, pre-diabetes (when glucose metabolism’s impaired but not enough to cause diabetes), and heart and kidney disease [1]. It started in 1999/2000 with 42 test sites nationally, and 11,247 subjects. There was a follow-up in 2004-5; and I assume the planned 2009/10 ten-year follow-up’s proceeding.

A fascinating AusDiab research paper appeared in the 26 January 2010 issue of Circulation [2]. It examines TV watching time in relation to subsequent all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality among 9,303 adults followed up for a median 6.6 years. Watching over four hours of TV per day was associated with an 80% increase in CVD death compared with viewing less than two hours per day, and a 46% increase in all-cause deaths. This was independent of CVD risk factors, e.g. smoking, lack of exercise, high cholesterol.

Is this a chicken-and-egg situation, i.e. do sicker people watch more TV? It’s unlikely because TV watching time was unrelated to cancer mortality.

The message? Don’t be a couch potato.

Me? I don’t get TV reception. So I should live forever. (Perish the thought.)


Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

Living for ever is a ghastly thought , but I am glad you are going to be around for a good long time. We have a tiny TV ,we rarely watch. I prefer to read. I suppose reading and TV would be just as bad, both sedentary, but I rarely spend 4 hours reading.

farmdoc said...

I have no difficulty believing that it'd be beyond you to sit still for four hours, Chrows25. Judging by your blog, you're a wonderfully busy and active person.
The AusDiab research looked only at TV watching, i.e not other sedentary activities. But at least reading's good for your brain if not your body. And we all have to sit down sometimes, eh.