Watch your weight, not the TV

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Too much time in front of the tube as little as two hours a day may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease, according to a new meta-analysis (an analysis of previous studies) published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. For the study, a team of Harvard University School of Public Health researchers reviewed eight studies comprised of 200,000 study subjects who were followed for an average of seven to ten years. They found that for every two hours of daily television watching, the risk of type 2 diabetes increased by 20 percent and the risk of heart disease went up by 15 percent. The combination of sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, and obesity creates a perfect breeding ground for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, lead author Dr. Frank Hu said. The Harvard group s conclusions are supported by a number of recent studies that have found a link between time spent in front of the TV and obesity.

ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, however, thinks this study design has too many limitations to be of any great value. To me, this is more of an overall sedentary lifestyle issue. In any event, this meta-analysis cannot distinguish between prolonged sitting in general or actual TV watching as the actual causative factor for diabetes, so how is this useful?