Scientists link television viewing to diabetes, heart disease, and death

A new study just released by the Journal of the American Medical Association has pointed to a link between television viewing and the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality — causing a rash of news reports claiming that television will kill you.

Alright folks, say it with me now. Correlation is not causation.

This information comes from a meta-analysis of eight studies: four of which reported on type 2 diabetes, four on cardiovascular disease, and three on all-cause mortality.

For every two hours of TV viewing per day, your chances of diabetes increased by 20%; for cardiovascular disease it was 15%; and a 13% increase in all-causes mortality. Sure, that may sound steep, but once you look at the actual numbers, it's not a huge leap. Write the researchers:

The estimated absolute risk differences per every 2 hours of TV viewing per day were 176 cases of type 2 diabetes per 100 000 individuals per year, 38 cases of fatal cardiovascular disease per 100 000 individuals per year, and 104 deaths for all-cause mortality per 100 000 individuals per year.

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That's right, less than two people more in a thousand.

Now, we're not going to say that spending 12 hours a day in front of your computer as a freelance blogger is healthy, but this confluence of correlation and causation does nothing to get to the root of the problem. Being too sedentary is universally acknowledged as a bad thing, but watching TV won't give you diabetes. There's diet, exercise, genetics, lifestyle, and a whole bunch of other things to take into account too, not just staring at a screen all day.

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DISCUSSION

anibalperez
Anibal Perez

What isn't going to "kill" you recently according to "scientists"?

Hell even air has been found to be deadly, sounds like someone is just trying to justify their government grants again.