Date Published: 28th July 2016

If you have a Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video account, chances are you’ve found yourself binge-watching a series at some point. Sadly for any TV-marathon-lovers, a recent study has found that binge-watching TV could actually end up killing you.

Researchers have found that the hours of inactivity that are required to watch a TV series can raise the risk of dying from a blood clot in the lungs. For every extra two hours of TV watching per day, the risk of fatal pulmonary embolism increases by 40%, and watching five or more hours to TV programmes each day made people more than twice as likely to die than those watching less than 2.5 hours.

The new study, which was conducted in Japan, followed the TV watching habits of almost 90,000 people aged between 40 and 79, over a 19 year period. Researchers followed people who were aged between 40 and 79 between 1988 and 1990, and then followed them through a 19-year period. The results found that 59 members of the group died from pulmonary embolisms; a medical condition which can be made worse by not moving around.

Pulmonary embolisms often begin with a clot in the body that can move towards the lungs, clogging up vessels and leading to sudden death if not treated. The condition occurs at a lower rate in Japan than it does in Western countries, but researchers believe it may be on the rise as Japanese people increasingly adopt sedentary lifestyles.

Following the research, scientists to warn that such habits – watching back-to-back episodes of a TV series – might be dangerous. As the study was conducted in a country where the population are typical less sedentary that in Western countries, and was conducted at a time before mobile computers and unlimited streaming services became popular, the threat to Western society may be even greater than predicted.

Other factors which could increase the risk of pulmonary embolism include obesity, smoking, and medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. It’s not all bad news though: researchers suggest that simply taking regular breaks to stretch and move around would help combat the risk of developing medical problems through lack of movement.

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