Could Binge Watching Kill You? Science Suggests It Might

Well that's a bummer.

Nick Fisherby Nick Fisher
Photo: Radius Images (Getty)

In our age of endless must-watch TV, binging on your favorite Netflix show can be a lot of fun. Suddenly dying from a blood clot, though? Not so fun. But in an announcement that spells bad news for streamaholics everywhere, the writing is on the wall. Science has finally proven that sitting and watching television for hours on end isn’t just bad for your social life. It’s also bad for your circulation, too – and can even have deadly consequences.

The news comes courtesy of scientists at the University of Minnesota, who collated data from a 24-year study mapping the viewing habits of over 15,000 unique participants. The researchers divided them up into different groups, basing their selection on how frequently the test subjects said they watched TV – from ‘never or seldom’, all the way up to ‘very often’. Each group then had their health monitored over the next two decades, with any changes logged for the eventual, final report.

The result? From 1987 to the conclusion of the study in 2011, 691 incidences of venous thromboembolism (a loose term covering everything from pulmonary embolisms to deep vein thrombosis – VTE for short) were recorded. The researchers then calculated each group’s risk of developing VTE. The pattern was clear: those in the ‘very often’ category for time spent viewing TV were considered 1.7 times more likely to suffer. So if you were worried it was that in-viewing diet of Doritos that was going to be the end of you, rest assured. Even just sitting down for that six-hour Game of Thrones session could kill!

On the plus side, the findings do suggest that exercise and staying healthy could reverse the damage you’ve caused to your veins – so long as you never go back to the binging.

Dr. Yasuhiko Kubota, the leader of the research project, stated:

“Even individuals who regularly engage in physical activity should not ignore the potential harms of prolonged sedentary behaviors such as TV viewing.”

Avoiding frequent TV viewing, increasing physical activity and controlling body weight might be beneficial to prevent VTE.”

Not exactly a definite confirmation that you won’t keel over during the finale of Suits, but a hopeful conclusion all the same. Besides, you know what also kills you? Living. So don’t sweat it on whether you watch too much television or not. Either way, you’re still doomed to a mortal death like everyone else.

Listen up, gamers: Chinese Woman’s 24-Hour Gaming Binge Probably Wasn’t Worth Going Blind Over