In the study, people who watched TV for three hours or more daily had double the risk of dying early than others who spent less time in front of it.Arthur Cruz/Flickr

Addiction to TV may shorten your life, according to a new study.

In the study, people who watched TV for three or more hours daily had double the risk of dying early than others who spent less time in front of it.

Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez and colleagues from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain included 13,284 healthy people, aged around 37 for their study. Of the total, 60 percent were women.

The study mainly explored effects of different sedentary behaviours including time spent in front of TV, computer and driving. Sedentary behaviour is a term used to refer to any activity performed in a sitting or lying position and that requires very less energy. During the eight-year study, 97 people died, mainly from cardiovascular events (19), cancer (46) and other problems (32). Watching TV for three or more hours per day was associated with twofold higher risk of early death than watching TV for less than one hour.

"Television viewing is a major sedentary behavior and there is an increasing trend toward all types of sedentary behaviors," lead author of the study, Martinez-Gonzalez, said in a news release. "Our findings are consistent with a range of previous studies where time spent watching television was linked to mortality."

Concerned with their findings, researchers recommended adults to spare some time for physical activity and avoid the risks. "As the population ages, sedentary behaviors will become more prevalent, especially watching television, and this poses an additional burden on the increased health problems related to aging," Martinez-Gonzalez said. "Our findings suggest adults may consider increasing their physical activity, avoid long sedentary periods, and reduce television watching to no longer than one to two hours each day."

Innumerable studies in the past have shown similar health effects associated with TV viewing.

In January, researchers from Australia followed 8,800 adults for six years and found that watching TV for two hours or more increased the risk of being killed early by a heart disease by 80 percent. Some other studies that came later have linked the habit to type 2 diabetes, heart problems and mortality.

TV viewing at childhood also has similar negative effects. A study reported in February found too much time on TV and computer making children materialistic and adversely affecting their mental health.

Following are some health risks associated with excess exposure to TV at childhood as provided by Mayo Clinic in US:

  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Behavioural problems
  • Reduced physical activity
  • Poor academic performance
  • Violent behaviour