Spending just four hours a day working on a computer or watching television is likely to double the risk of heart disease and increase the possibility of premature deaths, according to a study.

People who spend four or more hours in front of computers or television are 125 per cent more likely to suffer a major heart problem, frequently resulting in death, said a Daily Express report quoting the study conducted by researchers at the University College London.

Our analysis suggests that two or more hours of screen time each day may place someone at greater risk for a cardiac event,” said Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis of University College London's public health department.

Besides, the study found that there is 48 percent rise in deaths from any cause among people who spend prolonged hours staring at a screen.

“People who spend excessive amounts of time in front of a screen are more likely to die of any cause and suffer heart-related problems,” said Emmanuel. Even exercise could not make up for the damage caused, the study said.

The researchers attribute the increased risks to inflammation and metabolic problems caused by long periods of inactivity.

Sitting for long hours before the computer or television might result in 90 percent reduction in lipoprotein lipase, an important enzyme that helps in preventing heart disease, the study said.