A new study says binge watching TV increases your risk of colon cancer. Even if you’re in shape.
From The Oxford Acedemic:
“Women reporting more time watching TV were more frequently postmenopausal, smoked a greater number of pack-years, had a higher rate of diabetes mellitus, more frequently used aspirin and NSAIDs, used less multivitamins, were less physically active, and had generally poorer indices of healthy dietary intake.
Evidence on the association between time spent watching TV and conventional CRC has been accumulating, but data on young-onset CRC remains scarce. A recent meta-analysis demonstrated that sedentary TV viewing time was associated with a 54% increased risk of colon cancer, but included just two studies composed largely of older participants. Prior findings from our group leveraging two cohorts of older adults (Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study; mean age 64–68 years) showed a positive association between sedentary TV viewing time and CRC risk (19). Notably, this association appeared greater among women younger than age 65 years, supporting our findings in this third, younger, independent cohort.
Although our subgroup analysis demonstrated a trend toward elevated risk of conventional CRC with prolonged TV viewing, this was not statistically significant. It is possible that TV watching serves as a better surrogate for a more sedentary lifestyle among younger populations, as they are more likely to be employed full-time with excess TV consuming a comparatively larger proportion of waking, nonworking hours, compared to those older and retired. Moreover, our results also suggest the risk of young-onset CRC attributable to sedentary TV viewing may not be fully mediated through obesity and is independent of physical activity, as a possible confounder.
To improve detection of young-onset CRC, the American Cancer Society recently recommended that routine screening begins at age 45 years, rather than 50 years. However, adherence to prior, less strict guidelines is just 62% (36). This low uptake suggests cases in young people will continue to be identified late in real-world settings, particularly among those less than age 45 years who would not benefit from this change. Taken together, targeted identification of those most at risk is critically important to help mitigate this rising burden. Our findings indicate that reducing sedentary behaviors, particularly TV watching, may be an effective, low-risk, and actionable risk reduction measure.
Notably, rectal cancer in young people is rising faster than colon cancer, particularly in the United States (6). By 2030, each will increase by 124% and 90%, respectively, among individuals ages 20–34 years, and 46% and 28% among those ages 35–49 years. Prevention of rectal cancer remains challenging, because the majority of risk factors for conventional CRC have been more strongly associated with colon, rather than rectal cancer (37). Although our finding of disproportionately elevated risk of rectal cancer requires validation, it may help partially explain this phenomenon.
TV viewing, even among comparable behaviors, has been consistently linked to adverse health outcomes. Sedentary TV viewing may be particularly deleterious given the absence of social or occupational cues to unbroken sitting, resulting in extended exposure to fecal carcinogens, such as secondary bile acids. Prolonged sitting has also been shown to impair glucose homeostasis and decrease vitamin D levels. In contrast, standing and other light activities can improve blood flow and muscle contraction and result in improved glucose regulation and endothelial function. Sedentary behaviors have been linked to gut dysbiosis, a recognized determinant in CRC incidence and outcomes (50–52). Increased TV viewing may result in lower energy use, higher caloric intake, and less healthy diets, for which all are CRC risk factors. However, in our study, the association remained after adjusting for each. Finally, the trend toward stronger associations among people who were obese or overweight, less physically active, and had a prior smoking history suggest that individuals with prolonged sitting may have other factors that enhance the detrimental effects of being sedentary.
In closing, we found that increased sedentary TV viewing time was associated with elevated risk of young-onset CRC. These findings provide further evidence on the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle. Minimizing inactivity may offer protection against young-onset CRC beyond any risk reduction gained from the prevention of other major chronic diseases. Further studies are needed both to elucidate the underlying biological mechanism that may explain this phenomenon and to determine whether a more intensive screening program for sedentary persons at-risk may be of benefit.”
Get the full study HERE.
Moral of the story: GET MOVING. So hit the trail with the KRBE App. It’s for your health. Please and thank you.