Background: Television viewing time, the predominant leisure-time sedentary behavior, is associated with biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk, but its relationship with mortality has not been studied. We examined the associations of prolonged television viewing time with all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, and non-CVD/noncancer mortality in Australian adults.
Methods and results: Television viewing time in relation to subsequent all-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality (median follow-up, 6.6 years) was examined among 8800 adults > or =25 years of age in the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab). During 58 087 person-years of follow-up, there were 284 deaths (87 CVD deaths, 125 cancer deaths). After adjustment for age, sex, waist circumference, and exercise, the hazard ratios for each 1-hour increment in television viewing time per day were 1.11 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03 to 1.20) for all-cause mortality, 1.18 (95% CI, 1.03 to 1.35) for CVD mortality, and 1.09 (95% CI, 0.96 to 1.23) for cancer mortality. Compared with a television viewing time of <2 h/d, the fully adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were 1.13 (95% CI, 0.87 to 1.36) for > or =2 to <4 h/d and 1.46 (95% CI, 1.04 to 2.05) for > or =4 h/d. For CVD mortality, corresponding hazard ratios were 1.19 (95% CI, 0.72 to 1.99) and 1.80 (95% CI, 1.00 to 3.25). The associations with both cancer mortality and non-CVD/noncancer mortality were not significant.
Conclusions: Television viewing time was associated with increased risk of all-cause and CVD mortality. In addition to the promotion of exercise, chronic disease prevention strategies could focus on reducing sitting time, particularly prolonged television viewing.