According to a new study, which was conducted by the researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and published in the Diabetologia journal, states that every extra hour a person with prediabetes spends watching TV each day raises their risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes by 3.4%.
Andrea Kriska, an epidemiologist at the University of Pittsburgh, and the lead author of the study, said, “With streaming TV, you can watch a program continuously; instead of watching just half an hour once day a week, you can watch a whole season in a day, so we expect to see increases in sitting to continue.”
For their study, the researchers analyzed the data from participants in the Diabetes Prevention Program, which was a federally funded study published in 2002. That study included slightly more than 3,200 overweight U.S. adults between 1996 and 1999. The study’s goal was to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes in high-risk patients, either with the diabetes drug metformin or via lifestyle changes. The participants were 25 years and older and were divided into three groups: a metformin drug group, a placebo group, and a lifestyle intervention group.
The researchers found that participants in the lifestyle intervention group, which required participants to lose 7% of their weight and perform 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week (brisk walking, for example), successfully reduced the incidence of diabetes by 58%. By comparison, metformin caused only a 31% decrease in diabetes development.
The researchers added that before the study began, the participants in the Diabetes Prevention Program all spent the same amount of time watching TV, an average of 140 minutes per day. However, people engaging in lifestyle changes ended up reducing their TV time by 22 minutes a day over the course of the study. By comparison, people taking metformin reduced their TV watching by just 3 minutes a day, and those following no plan at all watched 8 minutes fewer per day.
The researchers then further investigated the impact of sedentary behavior over time on diabetes incidence and found that the risk of developing diabetes increased approximately by 3.4% for each hour spent watching TV, after adjusting for other variables.
The researchers stated that the findings suggest that people can avoid diabetes by sitting less and being physically more active.