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You Can't Exercise Away TV's Toll on the Heart
Date:3/3/2010

Heavy screen time in youth means trouble by mid-40s, despite activity levels, study finds

WEDNESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- People who watch more television in their 20s and 30s are more apt to develop heart disease risk factors by the time they reach their mid-40s than people who spent less time in front of the screen, a new study finds.

And while that's worrisome enough for many, the worse news is that you can't exercise the risk away.

The findings are to be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association's Joint Conference: Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, in San Francisco.

"When we took into account physical activity, the negative effects of TV viewing persisted," confirmed Emmanuel Stamatakis, lead author of the paper and a senior research associate at University College London. "A likely explanation is that the harmful effects of prolonged sitting cannot be simply compensated by doing some physical activity. In other words, the mechanisms of action of the harms of sitting are not the opposite of the benefits of exercise."

And there may be another negative twist to staying glued to a screen.

"We also would expect that, to some extent specifically, TV viewing harms through increased caloric intake [of unhealthy foods]. There is some evidence to support such an explanation but our study could not take into account food intake," Stamatakis said.

Dr. Eugene Storozynsky, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, believes the association might come from behaviors other than sitting.

"I suspect it's not so much the TV watching but other behaviors that go along with TV watching -- specifically, were the study subjects eating lots of carbohydrate-rich foods or drinking carbohydrate-rich drinks at the time they're TV watching?" he said.

"It would be interesting to see if there is a similar association with o
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