People who restrict television watching to two hours a day live longer, a study by the University of Glasgow has suggested.

Scientists say the risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease are reduced if screen time is reduced to 120 minutes or less.

The conclusion was based on a study of nearly 500,000 people aged from 37 to 73 over a period spanning from 2006 to 2018.

According to the results, if all of the study participants limited their screen time to two hours a day, potentially 5.62% of all deaths as well as 7.97% of cardiovascular disease-related deaths could have been delayed or prevented.

As well as traditional television screen, the study also counted watching videos on a mobile phone.

These findings have led the research team to call for adults to reduce their risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease by minimising their screen time.

Lead researcher Dr Hamish Foster, from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing, said the findings supported a body of evidence suggesting a sedentary lifestyle together with watching too much television led to poor health outcomes.

He said: “Our study suggests limiting TV time could delay or prevent a lot of adverse health. However, there is still more work to be done before we can make firm TV time recommendations. Further research is needed to understand all these factors and inform future advice and guidelines.”

Eating unhealthy snacks and lower socioeconomic status were associated with both longer screen time and poor health outcomes, the research also found.

As part of the study, the research team also explored any benefits of swapping screen time with physical activities, including walking.

The findings suggested those who benefited more from replacing longer periods watching television with more time exercising were people who had previously spent only limited time being physically active.

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