Watching more TV 'increases risk of disability in older people'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Older people who spend too much time watching TV without getting exercise are at a greater risk of developing a walking disability.

This is according to a new study from George Washington University, which analysed data generated by people aged 50 to 71 from six states and two metropolitan areas in the US over a ten-year period.

“Older people who watch more TV and get less physical exercise are at a greater risk of developing a walking disability, according to a new study.“

It was shown that participants who watched five or more hours of TV per day had a 65 percent greater risk of reporting a mobility disability compared to those who watched less than two hours of TV per day.

This association was independent of their level of total physical activity, as well as a variety of risk factors known to affect mobility disability risk. However, increased levels of total sitting and TV time in combination with low physical activity resulted in an acceleration of risk.

Study leader Dr Loretta DiPietro, chair of the department of exercise and nutrition sciences at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health, said: "Our findings suggest that older people who want to remain fit must ramp up their daily physical activity and reduce the amount of time they spend sitting."

She recommended steps such as taking breaks from sitting at a desk, parking the car further away from a destination, or deciding to take the stairs more often.

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