As part of the ongoing study of the many ways living will kill you, scientists in Pamplona, Spain—where people run in front of stampeding bulls for fun—have sounded the alarm on the deadly dangers of watching television. The news comes hot on the heels of TiVo’s survey showing that 91 percent of its respondents binge-watch shows, 100 percent of whom will be dead momentarily. This according to researchers at the University of Navarra and the Journal of the American Heart Association, which reports that people who watch TV for more than three hours a day—barely covering one satisfying session of Orange Is The New Black—are twice as likely to die an early death than those who watch just one hour of TV a day. While not specifically mentioned in the report, those who watch four or more hours of TV a day are presumably already dead and you’re reading this in heaven.
These findings are the culmination of eight years of studying a group of 13,284 subject—all of them college graduates around the age of 37, all deemed to be “healthier than the average comparable Spaniard,” a people whose regular swashbuckling and diet of just olives keeps them especially hearty. Nevertheless, 97 of them died during that eight-year period, and for every two extra hours they watched of TV, they were “44 percent more likely to die from heart disease or stroke, 21 percent more likely to die of cancer, and 55 percent more likely to die from other causes.” That’s even taking into account other mitigating factors like their age, sex, caloric intake, smoking habits, and whether or not they might’ve run in front of any wild bulls lately.
And while the study is just the latest in a series of reminders that a sedentary lifestyle will kill you—and if you’re just gonna sit there, you might as well do it an open grave—it also specifically called out television as the most deadly of all sitting-related activities. While driving a car and doing stuff on your computer creates the most minor of aerobic exercise, even just staring off into space is apparently better for you than TV, as related studies have concluded that “watching television lowers the metabolism more than even sitting and doing nothing.” (Of course, staring into space is often better than watching TV, depending on what show you’re talking about. True Blood, for example.)
On the bright side, this study follows a similar one from 2011 that said two hours of TV a day is likely to kill you prematurely. So, you just got an extra hour! Maybe see what’s on television.
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