June 14, 2011 (Health.com)
No one ever claimed that watching TV was healthy, but doctors are only now discovering just how bad it can be. Evidence from a spate of recent studies suggests that the more TV you watch, the more likely you are to develop a host of health problems and to die at an earlier age. In a new analysis published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers combined data from eight such studies and found that for every additional two hours people spend glued to the tube on a typical day, their risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases by 20% and their risk of heart disease increases by 15%. And for every additional three hours the study participants spent in front of the TV, their risk of dying from any cause during the respective studies jumped 13%, on average. “When put together, the findings are remarkably consistent across different studies and different populations,” says Frank Hu, M.D., a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, who coauthored the analysis.