Television Viewing Time and Inflammatory-Related Mortality

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Oct;49(10):2040-2047. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001317.


Purpose: Television (TV) viewing time is associated with increased risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality. Although TV time is detrimentally associated with key inflammatory markers, the associations of TV time with other inflammatory-related mortality (with a predominant inflammatory, oxidative or infectious component, but not attributable to cancer or cardiovascular causes), are unknown.

Methods: Among 8933 Australian adults (4593 never-smokers) from the baseline (1999-2000) Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (median follow-up, 13.6 yr), we examined TV time in relation to noninflammatory and inflammatory-related mortality (not attributable to cancer or cardiovascular causes, hereafter "inflammatory-related" mortality). Because smoking has a significant inflammatory component, we also examined this relationship in never-smokers.

Results: Of 896 deaths, 248 were attributable to cardiovascular disease, 346 to cancer, 130 to other inflammatory-related causes (71 for never-smokers), and 172 to noninflammatory-related causes (87 for never-smokers). After multivariate adjustment for age, sex, education, household income, smoking status, alcohol intake, energy intake, diet, and cardiometabolic risk biomarkers (model 3), every additional hours per day of TV time was associated with increased risk of inflammatory-related mortality in the overall population (hazard ratio, 1.12; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.25) and in never-smokers (1.18; 1.00, 1.40). These results were attenuated after additional adjustment for leisure-time physical activity. After multivariate adjustment (model 3), no association was observed for noninflammatory mortality in the overall population (0.95; 0.85, 1.07), but risk tended to decrease for never-smokers (0.85; 0.75, 1.02).

Conclusions: In summary, before adjustment for leisure-time physical activity, TV time was associated with increased risk of inflammatory-related mortality. This is consistent with the hypothesis that high TV viewing may be associated with a chronic inflammatory state.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Television*
  • Time Factors