Box set binges can seriously damage your health says Edinburgh study

Breaking Bad is the most 'binge-worthy' box set of all time. Picture: SWNS
Breaking Bad is the most 'binge-worthy' box set of all time. Picture: SWNS
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BOX set binges can seriously damage your health - according to a new study.

Recently published research reveals that watching TV for hours on end can lead to a higher risk of everything from eye complaints to cancer.

It states that those who sit in front of a screen for more than three hours a day have a higher chance of developing digestive and blood clotting disorders.

Couch potatoes who spend more than six hours at a time watching TV increase the risk of cancer and bladder disease.

And die-hard film addicts who spend more than 11 hours watching their favourite shows increase their risk of bowel disease.

The study was carried out by Dr Ivy Shiue, a visiting researcher at Edinburgh University’s Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre.

Dr Shiue, who is also a senior research associate at Northumbria University in Newcastle, said the link between television and ill health had been investigated in many studies, but tended to focus on conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

“TV or screen viewing is impacting on our heart, metabolic and brain function, as shown with previous research evidence,” she said.

“Moreover, excessive TV or screen viewing - between five to 20 hours constantly - could also impact our other body functions because people sit there for excessive hours without body movement or exercise.

“This has a strong implication on the imbalanced lifestyle that would contribute to various chronic diseases.”

The study was published in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

It found people who watched television for two hours on average had 1.5 times higher risk of metabolic syndrome (diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity), nervous system disorder, eye complaints and heart disease than those who watched it for under that time.

Those who watched television for three hours had 1.5 times on average higher risks of mental, digestive or clotting disorders, and those who watched TV for five hours had 1.5 times higher risk of cancer.

Even longer viewing sessions were associated with other illnesses - for example people who watched a screen for 11 hours a day had a 3.7 times higher risk of bowel disease.

The paper concludes that educational and public health programmes to minimise TV or screen viewing might be required.

But experts say the findings highlight the concerns about impact of inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle on health, rather than the “dangers of television”.

Thea Cunningham, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said there was no evidence of a link between exposure to television sets or screens and cancer.

But she added: “There is growing evidence suggesting that sitting for long periods of time - which is often linked to weight gain - can increase cancer risk.”