Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that whether study participants were following the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) lifestyle intervention or not (the DPP includes education, coaching and exercise), watching TV increased diabetes risk across the board.
The study included 3,234 overweight U.S. adults who were separated into three groups: a placebo group, a group taking the drug metformin and a group following DPP.
Decreasing sitting time is the goal
The link between TV watching and diabetes remained even after researchers adjusted for gender, age and physical activity levels.
Participants in the DPP group had the greatest reduction in average time spent watching TV, the researchers noted, but this was not the goal of the study. Future studies that emphasize more activity – and less TV watching – that also track weight changes might shed more light on the topic, they concluded.
“It is likely that a lifestyle intervention program that incorporates a specific goal of decreasing sitting time would result in greater changes in sitting and likely more health improvements than are demonstrated here,” said Dr. Andrea Kriska, senior author of the study.