Sitting in front of the TV, not at a desk, linked to higher heart risks for African Americans

An NHLBI-funded study has found that not all sitting is created equal when it comes to increased risks for heart disease.

Sedentary behaviors and long periods of sitting have been linked to bad cardiovascular outcomes, but the new findings, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, suggest that binge watching TV may be a greater risk factor for heart disease and premature death among African Americans than sitting at a desk job.

The researchers followed 3,592 people, all African Americans, living in Jackson, Miss., for almost 8.5 years and participants in the NHLBI-funded Jackson Heart Study. The participants reported how much time they typically spent sitting while watching TV and during work. They also reported how much time they spent exercising in their down time.

The participants who had logged the most TV-viewing hours (4 or more hours a day) had a 50% greater risk of cardiovascular events and death compared to those who watched the least amount of TV (less than 2 hours a day).