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Excessive TV watching can lead to stiffening of major vessels

 

Studies done in the past have found an association between increased time spent in front of TV and higher likelihood of developing conditions like obesity, diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure. But in a first study of its kind, researchers from Netherlands have found that watching excessive television can also lead to stiffening of major arteries. The study has been published in the recent issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

For their research, the researchers concentrated on young adults to find out if they develop early signs of damage which may later lead to the development of major diseases. They enrolled 373 young men and women who were around 32 years of age, for their study. The participants were asked to fill up questionnaires regarding their TV watching habits, exercise and other risk factors. The participants were again analyzed when they were 36 years of age. They were also asked to undergo ultrasonography to assess the stiffness of the carotid, brachial and femoral arteries.
 
The researchers observed that stiffness of carotid arteries was directly related to time spent in front of television. The participants with the stiffest carotid vessels spent on an average 20 minutes more time watching television compared to other participants. Similar results were obtained in case of femoral arteries as well.
 
According to the researchers the critical cut off time for TV watching is 2 hours, the same as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians. Watching TV for more than 2 hours has an adverse impact upon the health of the individual. The results obtained were not affected by the amount of exercise the participants were doing. This proves that remaining sedentary for a long time leads to changes in blood vessels which may be a cause of development of hypertension, obesity and diabetes later on. The emphasis should lie not only on exercising regularly but also not remaining sedentary for a long time. People should be encouraged not to spend more than 2 hours in front of television or computer every day.
 
Editor: Dr. Bimal Rajalingam MBBS DNB 
Reference:

 

Date: 
Tuesday, October 7, 2014