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Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092555
  • Original article

Self-reported time spent watching television is associated with arterial stiffness in young adults: the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study

  1. Isabel Ferreira1,2,3,4
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  3. 3CARIM School of Cardiovascular Diseases, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Technology Assessment, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  5. 5Department of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  6. 6Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  7. 7Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Isabel Ferreira, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Technology Assessment (KEMTA), Maastricht University Medical Centre+, P. Debyelaan 25, PO Box 5800, Maastricht 6202 AZ, The Netherlands; i.ferreira{at}maastrichtuniversity.nl.
  • Received 22 April 2013
  • Revised 7 August 2013
  • Accepted 11 September 2013
  • Published Online First 7 October 2013

Abstract

Objectives To investigate whether time spent watching television (a marker of sedentary behaviour) is associated with arterial stiffness, a major determinant of cardiovascular disease, and whether any such association could be explained by related deleterious levels of habitual physical activity (HPA) and/or other lifestyle and biological risk factors.

Methods Prospective measures (ages 32 and 36 years) of television time and risk factors were retrieved from 373 participants (196 women) in whom stiffness of the carotid, brachial and femoral arteries was assessed by means of ultrasonography at age 36 years. Data were analysed with generalised estimating equations.

Results Participants with stiffer carotid arteries spent more time (in min/day) watching television during the four preceding years than did those with less stiff arteries, as defined on the basis of the highest compared with the lowest gender-specific tertiles of the distensibility or compliance coefficients (reversed) or the Young's elastic modulus: +22.4 (95%CI 8.7 to 36.1), +18.4 (4.2 to 32.5) and +19.7 (6.0 to 33.4), respectively. These differences were independent of potential confounders, such as vigorous intensity HPA and other lifestyle risk factors, and could only in part (up to 31%) be explained by the adverse associations of television time with traditional biological risk factors. Qualitatively similar results were found for femoral, but not brachial, stiffness estimates.

Conclusions Given the independent associations of time spent watching television and vigorous intensity HPA with arterial stiffness, our study suggests that not only promotion of physical activity, but also discouragement of sedentary behaviours should be targeted in younger adults to prevent arterial stiffening.

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