Watching TV for Hours Each Day Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on April 7, 2015

Each hour spent watching television daily increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 3.4% even after taking into account physical activity during the rest of the day, new research has found.

However, this was reduced to a 2.1% increased risk of developing diabetes per hour of watching TV, which was not statistically significant, when body weight was added to the model.

TV watchingThis suggests that subsequent changes in body weight may account for some of the relationship between sitting behaviour changes and diabetes development, according to the researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health.

‘Less time spent watching TV per day over a three year follow up translated into a lower risk of developing diabetes, even after controlling for how much physical activity people were reporting,’ said lead author Bonny Rockette-Wagner, director of physical activity assessment at the school.

The study was undertaken as part of the Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP), a clinical research trial funded by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH). The DPP had previously found that people at risk for diabetes who lost weight and increased their physical activity levels sharply reduced their risk for diabetes and heart disease, outperforming people who took a diabetes drug when compared to placebo.

The two lifestyle goals of the DPP were to achieve 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity, such as brisk walking, and a 7% weight loss. The main study results were published in 2002.

The Pittsburg researchers used recently analysed data from the DPP to determine whether the lifestyle intervention also reduced time spent sitting. Prior to the trial, watching television and sitting at work, combined, averaged nearly seven hours per day.

People who took part in the lifestyle intervention arm of the trial reported reducing their combined television and work sitting time by 37 minutes per day, compared to a six minute reduction in people taking the diabetes drug and a nine minute reduction in people taking a placebo.

‘This is not always the case, as interventions that succeed in increasing moderate intensity activity do not always result in positive changes in sitting,’ said Rockette-Wagner.

According to Dr. Kriska, professor at the university’s department of epidemiology, future intervention efforts that focus on increasing physical activity and reducing weight also should consider emphasising sitting less.

‘Because a decrease in sitting occurred despite the absence of programme goals aimed at reducing sedentary behaviour, it is likely that a lifestyle intervention programme that incorporates such a goal would result in greater changes in sitting and greater health improvements than we found in this study,’ she said.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ivan May 19, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Sitting on the computer/TV day and night is the leading cause of obesity, high BP and type2 diabetes.


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