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How binge-watching puts men at risk

Friday March 9th, 2018

Men who binge-watch television face a significantly increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, according to the findings of a major UK analysis published today.

The study, involving half a million people in the UK Biobank, found a 35% increased risk for men who watched more than four hours of television a day – compared with those watching an hour or less.

The findings did not apply to time in front of computer screens and only applied to men.

The researchers did not specifically analyse other lifestyle factors – and say that habits such as excessive drinking and smoking while binge-watching might lie behind the connection.

During the six years of the analysis some 2,391 people of those in the study developed colorectal cancer.

The research also found that high levels of physical activity were linked to a 23% reduced risk of developing the disease compared with low levels.

The research, published in the British Journal of Cancer, involved Imperial College, London, Oxford University and the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France.

Researcher Dr Neil Murphy, from the International Agency, said: “Previous research suggests that watching TV may be associated with other behaviours, such as smoking, drinking and snacking more, and we know that these things can increase the risk of bowel cancer.

“Being sedentary is also associated with weight gain and greater body fat.”

Professor Linda Baud, from Cancer Research UK, said: “This study poses interesting questions such as why screen time from computers didn’t increase the risk of bowel cancer but watching TV did.

“We’ll need further research to answer the questions this study raises. What we do know is that keeping a healthy weight, cutting back on alcohol, being physically active and eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables are known to cut your risk of bowel cancer.”

Physical activity, sedentary behaviour and colorectal cancer risk in the UK Biobank. British Journal of Cancer 9 March 2018; doi: 10.1038/bjc.2017.496

Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/bjc2017496

Tags: Cancer | Fitness | Gastroenterology | Men's Health | UK News

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