The risk of dying of heart disease increases by 7% with each hour spent watching television, researchers have claimed.
Scientists studying 13,197 healthy middle-aged adults in Norfolk said they found that one in every 35 of them, a total of 373, died from heart disease over 10 years.
They said the amount of time the subjects spent watching television, compared with an individual’s normal risk level, was significant in the likelihood of them dying from heart disease.
Researchers also accounted for rates of smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and poor diet when they calculated their results, and excluded adults who had a history of related diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes.
The television viewing times were taken from questionnaires.
Study co-author Dr Katrien Wijndaele said research into other sedentary activity, such as sitting behind a computer and car driving is needed to compare the results.
The Medical Research Council research findings were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.