A major study now says watching television for hours on end each day is bad for your health and can even lead to an early death.
It linked long spells in front of the TV to habits like smoking, drinking and bad diet as well a higher threat of heart disease.
The research by the University of Glasgow examined the health of people aged 40 to 69, checking how many watched television for four hours or more a day. This was classed as ‘high’ and such viewers were highly likely to be watching daytime or late-night TV.
Those with the most healthy lifestyles viewed their set for 2.2 hours a day while 2.9 hours was moderately healthy.
Academics also examined the number of participants who slept for less than seven hours or more than nine hours each day and found that too much or too little sleep can also lead to poorer health and shorter lives.
Other factors were taken into account such as obesity, physical activity, smoking, drinking and diet.
The study in The Lancet Public Health journal said TV viewing time and sleep duration were ‘emerging risk factors’ in assessing lifestyles.
It added that although deprived groups were likely to experience disproportionate harm from unhealthy lifestyles, death rates could be cut.