Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
January 20, 2022
2 min read

Prolonged TV time linked to VTE risk; frequent breaks, physical activity recommended

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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According to a meta-analysis of three studies, prolonged TV viewing was associated with elevated risk for venous thromboembolism, independent of traditional risk factors, including age, sex, BMI and physical activity.

In the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the researchers wrote that factors associated with prolonged TV viewing such as increased immobilization, body weight, lipids, hypertension, plasma viscosity, platelet aggregation and venous stasis through decreased venous return all may represent mechanistic pathways for VTE.

Graphical depiction of data presented in article
Data were derived from Kunutsor SK, et al. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2022;doi:10.1093/eurjpc/zwab220.

Researchers recommended that frequent breaks during prolonged sedentary activities such as TV viewing and retaining recommended levels of physical activity may prevent VTE.

Setor K. Kunutsor

“We focussed on TV viewing because the evidence regarding the relationship between TV viewing and VTE was uncertain. Only three studies have reported on the relationship between TV viewing and venous thromboembolism. But so far, their findings have not been consistent,” Setor K. Kunutsor, BSc, MBChB, MPhil, PhD, senior lecturer in evidence synthesis at Bristol Medical School in Bristol, U.K., told Healio. “So, we decided to bring all the evidence together. Combining the studies provides a larger sample, which makes the results more reliable than the results of an individual study.”

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of three studies: JACC from Japan, and ARIC and REGARDS from the U.S.

The studies included 131,421 participants from the general population who had 964 VTE events.

The mean age at baseline was 54 to 65 years, with an average follow-up of 5.1 to 19.8 years. Each study utilized self-reported questionnaires that included questions regarding TV viewing time, and all three studies adjusted for risk factors such as age, sex, BMI and physical activity.

“The three studies categorized prolonged TV viewing differently, but summarizing their definitions, prolonged TV viewing could be defined as watching TV at least 4 hours per day,” Kunutsor told Healio.

Researchers found the RR for VTE among individuals who reported prolonged TV viewing time was greater compared with individuals who reported never/seldom TV viewing (RR = 1.35; 95% CI, 1.07-1.7).

“If you want to binge on TV viewing, take regular breaks in between,” Kunutsor told Healio. “For people whose jobs involve sitting for long hours, take regular breaks in between. If you are already physically active and you sit for long hours watching TV or working, now is the time to increase your physical activity levels, as there is evidence showing that higher volumes of moderate and vigorous activity can reduce, or even eliminate the adverse risks associated with sedentary behavior.”

For more information:

Setor K. Kunutsor, BSc, MBChB, MPhil, PhD, can be reached at skk31@cantab.net.