But what does watching TV have to do with dying? It all comes down to sitting -- and sitting for way too long.
"We know that television viewing is the most prevalent leisure-time sedentary behavior and our working hypothesis is that it is an indicator of overall physical inactivity," Dr. Sarah K. Keadle, of the National Cancer Institute and the study's lead investigator, said in a statement. "In this context, our results fit within a growing body of research indicating that too much sitting can have many different adverse health effects,"
The numbers are pretty startling. Compared to people who watched less than an hour of TV per day, people who said they watched three to four hours a day were 15% more likely to die from any cause of death. Worse yet, people who watched seven or more hours daily (seriously, at that point, what are you doing?) were 47% more likely to die during the course of the study. These numbers held even when the investigators factored in things like smoking, health status, alcohol consumption, and diet. The study focused on 221,000 people between the ages of 50 and 71, who didn't have a chronic disease at the start of the research.