Could watching TV be increasing your risk of diabetes? 25



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Sometimes there’s nothing better than sitting down on the couch after a long day, or even during a lazy day, and watching the box. But could it be doing us more harm than good?

According to a new study published today in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes), every hour you spend watching TV increases the risk of developing diabetes by 3.4 per cent.

This huge breakthrough shows how crucial it is for those at risk of diabetes to move around and exercise. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh studied data from a 2002 study of 3,234 overweight adults. The participants in the study were high risk individual and the study aimed to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes with a placebo a drug or a lifestyle intervention. In particular, the lifestyle intervention was successful at reducing the incidence of diabetes, achieving its goals of 7% weight loss and 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity (such as brisk walking).

The main goal of the new study by the University of Pittsburgh was to find out exactly what type of lifestyle invention effort would have an effect on time spent sitting. This new study examined whether the lifestyle intervention, which was shown to be effective at increasing physical activity, also decreased self-reported sitting time. The effect of sedentary behaviour on diabetes development was also examined.

Results from the new research showed that prior to the intervention, total time spent watching TV was not found to be significantly different between the placebo, metformin (drug), and lifestyle groups (around 140 minutes per day in all three groups).

It was found that a reduction in TV watching time was observed for all of the lifestyle participants, regardless of age, sex, work status, race/ethnicity, obesity status, or those achieving the weight and/or activity goal(s). Those who changed their lifestyle habits had the greatest reduction in time spent watching TV. In comparison, those who took a placebo or a drug to prevent diabetes only reduced their time watching TV by 9 and 6 minutes, respectively.

According to the senior author of the study, Dr Kriska, “These findings are particularly noteworthy because a decrease in sitting occurred despite the absence of programme goals aimed at reducing sitting. It is likely that a lifestyle intervention programme that incorporates a specific goal of decreasing sitting time would result in … more health improvements than are demonstrated here. Finally, these results should inform future intervention efforts that already focus on goals of increasing activity and reducing weight to also consider emphasising sitting less”.


Share your thoughts below – how much TV do you watch per day? What do you think sitting down is doing to your health? 

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  1. So every person who spends all day working on a computer, sits in a car or on public transport to get home, then flops exhausted onto the couch may as well lay down and die now then.

    Sometimes I wonder about the validity of modern day superficial research.

    4 REPLY
    • I agree Janice, modern life is hardly conducive to being fit and healthy. Heck, you don’t even have to get off your behind to change the tv channel. Grocery shopping can be a few clicks away. But the reality is there are a lot of people who spend their entire day, 5 days a week sitting down watching a computer screen. If the research is correct you’d think they’d target them rather than the people who sit down at night.

    • ok what about the ppl who have back,,,leg complaints and the only way we can get some relief is to sit for a while??

    • Oh well, that’s it for you guys Cheryl. You’re gone. Modern researchers leave a lot to be desired I think. Wish they’d all use their time more productively.

      Today I was listening to a doctor who was being interviewed on TV. I was standing up at the time. Lucky for me huh. Anyway, he was going on about how eating low fat this or that was bad for you. We need to eat fats. He also said that a few years ago scientists advised we switch to vegetable oil. Unfortunately, new research shows its one of the worst things for us.

      I think I’m more than happy to decide what my diet should be, what weight I feel comfortable at, and how much time I sit on my backside watching TV. I’d be safer and smarter tailor making my diet and lifestyle for me rather than listening to researchers who tell you one thing to day, then contradict it tomorrow.

  2. I watch a lot of TV and sit in front of the computer. I have a couple of health issues. Don’t think they are caused by watching TV etc. Goodness me!!!!!

  3. I have Diabetes, I have had it for fifteen years! Fifteen years ago, and for the previous twenty years, I had never worked in a sedentary situation. They have also discovered this week that paracetamol does NOT relieve the pain of arthritis ( I could have told them that years ago – never did anything for me)! Would be really surprised if these researchers and scientists came up with something credible.

  4. What crap!!! How much of this is fleecing Drs. Pharmaceutical Co’s Etc, Etc, Etc. pockets? if I can’t sit and watch TV, I might as well be in my grave. Who finds this rubbish to post. OVER IT!!!!

  5. A sedentary lifestyle is the point here! Balance mobility with sedentary and there are benefits. The release of endorphins for one! Give it a go.

  6. Yes we spend a lot of time in front of computers these days so after running a busy Cafe I am not concerned about a few hours at the computer.

  7. After 65 years of age and 45 years of very active work, a few hours nightly won’t give you diabetes.

  8. Just another thing to worry about for goodness sakes. Just been on a 3 hour mountain bike ride and relaxing watching tv tonight puts us at risk???!!!!!!

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