London, Jan 11 (Agencies): Just four hours a day in front of a computer or television could double your risk of a heart disease and thus increase your chances of premature death, a new study has claimed.

Researchers at the University College London have found that people who work on computers or watch television for four or more hours a day are 125 per cent more likely to suffer a major heart problem, often leading to death, than those who spend two hours or less.

And the study also found there is also a 48 per cent increase in deaths from any cause among people who spend too much time staring at a screen, the 'Daily Express' reported.

Even exercise could not make up for the damage caused, say the researchers.
According to the researchers, inflammation and metabolic problems caused by long periods of inactivity could be to blame for the increased risks -- prolonged sitting could cause a 90 per cent reduction in a vital enzyme, lipoprotein lipase, that helps prevent heart disease.

Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis of University College London's public health department, who led the study, said: "Our analysis suggests that two or more hours of screen time each day may place someone at greater risk for a cardiac event.

"People who spend excessive amounts of time in front of a screen are more likely to die of any cause and suffer heart-related problems."

The researchers have advised people who work in front of a computer to reduce their risk by taking breaks for a brief walk every 20 minutes.

Stamatakis said: "Standing and moving about results in at least 50 per cent more energy expenditure than sitting down so such approaches may also be very promising for tackling the obesity epidemic.

"A totally feasible and realistic redesign of the workplace and home environments can easily convert long periods of time during the workday that currently are strictly sedentary into a mixture of sitting, standing and light intensity activity. This would be an excellent start.

"TV watching should be a key target of public health interventions. Heart disease and poor health in general is not only the result of high cholesterol, diets high in fat, smoking and low exercise."