Binge-watching TV linked to higher risk of blood clot; Study

By Arya M Nair, Intern Reporter
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A study reports that watching TV for four hours a day or more is linked with a 35 percent higher risk of blood clots compared with fewer than 2.5 hours.

Scientists suggest taking breaks when binge-watching TV to avoid blood clots, in a research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The study examined the association between TV viewing and venous thromboembolism (VTE), a medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein.

The analysis included three studies with a total of 131,421 participants aged 40 years and older without pre-existing VTE. The amount of time spent watching TV was assessed by questionnaire and participants were categorized as prolonged viewers (watching TV at least four hours per day) and never or seldom viewers (watching TV less than 2.5 hours per day).

Setor Kunutsor
Dr. Setor Kunutsor
Senior Lecturer
University of Bristol

“Our study findings suggested that being physically active does not eliminate the increased risk of blood clots associated with prolonged TV watching. If you are going to binge on TV you need to take breaks. You can stand and stretch every 30 minutes or use a stationary bike. And avoid combining television with unhealthy snacking.”

The average duration of follow-up in the three studies ranged from 5.1 to 19.8 years. During this period, 964 participants developed VTE. The researchers analyzed the relative risk of developing VTE in prolonged versus never or seldom TV watchers. They found that prolonged viewers were 1.35 times more likely to develop VTE compared to never or seldom viewers.

The association was independent of age, sex, body mass index (BMI) and physical activity. “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,” said Dr. Kunutsor.

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