• Researchers studied the link between binge-watching TV and VTE
  • "Prolonged" TV viewers were 1.35 times more at risk
  • Being physically active didn't counter the increased risk linked to binge-watching

Are you among people who enjoy binge-watching TV? The habit may be linked to a higher risk of blood clots, a new study has found.

The study, published Thursday in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, took a closer look at the association between watching TV and a disorder known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

VTE includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in the deep vein, usually in the lower leg, pelvis or thigh and pulmonary embolism (PE) -- a blood clot in the lungs.

According to the researchers, it is “plausible” that watching TV for a prolonged period of time may be associated with increased VTE risk.

This evidence, however, “so far has been inconsistent,” with some studies finding an increased VTE risk but others not.

For the study, the researchers looked at available published evidence. Of the 28 “potentially relevant citations,” they identified three studies that were eligible for their analysis.

These studies had a total of over 130,000 participants 40 years old and older without pre-existing VTE, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) noted in a release.

Participants were categorized as “prolonged viewers” if they watched at least four hours of TV a day or as “never/seldom” viewers if they watched less than 2.5 hours of TV a day.

Among the participants, 964 developed VTE during the average follow-up period of 5.1 to 19.8 years. Prolonged viewers were actually 1.35 times more likely to develop the condition than never/seldom viewers.

“All three studies adjusted for these factors since they are strongly related to the risk of VTE; for instance, older age, higher BMI and physical inactivity are linked with an increased risk of VTE," study lead author, Dr. Setor Kunutsor of the University of Bristol, said in the news release.

“The findings indicate that regardless of physical activity, your BMI, how old you are and your gender, watching many hours of television is a risky activity with regards to developing blood clots.”

The researchers say one of the possible explanations for the increased risk is the unhealthy behaviors people tend to develop while watching TV, such as snacking. Further, the “very prolonged nature of this activity in a cramped position” could also explain the association.

“(W)hen you sit in a cramped position for long periods, blood pools in your extremities rather than circulating and this can cause blood clots,” Kunutsor explained.

As such, the researchers recommend taking breaks between prolonged sedentary periods, such as while binge-watching TV or working. In fact, these frequent breaks maybe “essential for VTE prevention.”

“Our results suggest that we should limit the time we spend in front of the television," Kunutsor said. “Generally speaking, if you sit a lot in your daily life – for example your work involves sitting for hours at a computer – be sure to get up and move around from time to time.”

Binge Watching/Watching TV/Popcorn
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