Television Watching as Sedentary Behavior and Atrial Fibrillation: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: There is no research on the association of television (TV) watching with atrial fibrillation (AF). Methods: From 1987 to 1989, the authors obtained information on the frequency of TV watching in 14,458 participants, aged 45–64 years, without a history of AF. The authors used the Cox proportional hazards model to estimate hazard ratios and their 95% confidence intervals of AF according to the frequency of TV watching (“never or seldom,” “sometimes,” “often,” or “very often”). Results: During the 294,553 person-years of follow-up, the authors identified 2,476 AF events. Adjustment for other potential confounding factors, including physical activity, did not change the associations, in which “very often” watching TV carried 1.28 (95% confidence interval, 1.09–1.50) times AF risk compared with “never or seldom” watching TV (P for trend = .002). Even among individuals who met a recommended level of physical activity, watching TV “very often” carried 1.36 (1.02–1.82) times AF risk, compared with watching TV “never or seldom.” Conclusion: Greater frequency of TV watching was independently associated with increased risk of AF even after adjusting for physical activity. Moreover, a recommended level of physical activity did not eliminate the increased risk of frequent TV watching for AF. Avoiding frequent TV watching might be beneficial for AF prevention.

Kubota and Folsom are with the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA. Alonso is with the Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA. Shah is with the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA. Chen is with Cardiovascular Division, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Kubota (kubot007@umn.edu) is corresponding author.
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