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Binge-watching Game of Thrones increases health risks

Binge-watching Game of Thrones could lead you to an early grave from dementia, Parkinson’s disease or diabetes, new research suggests.

Perched on a sofa to watch two hour-long episodes each day increases the risk of an inflammatory-related death by 54 per cent. 

Chronic inflammation is now considered to be central – among other factors – to many illnesses including these three diseases.

Researchers at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne say the findings, based on nearly 9,000 adults, stem from prolonged sitting.

It backs up a host of studies which reveal the true dangers of sitting for excessive periods of time, causing many to say it is the new smoking. 

Lead author Dr Megan Grace has urged those keen on watching multiple episodes in one sitting to get up regularly and stretch their legs.

Perched on a sofa to watch two hour-long episodes each day increases the risk of an inflammatory-related death by 54 per cent (pictured: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister in an episode of Game of Thrones)

She told ‘People should be attempting to sit less and move more throughout their day because we do believe there are health benefits.’ 

‘We know sitting involves reduced muscle activity, and therefore reduced blood flow.  We think this stagnation in the blood vessels may be leading to an accumulation of inflammatory markers in the blood and muscles.

How does sitting lead to inflammation? 

Dr Grace added: ‘Inflammation is a normal response in the body when there’s an injury or infection.

‘When the inflammation isn’t cleared away and it hangs around, we think this long-term low-level inflammation is actually causing damages to tissues that lead to diseases like diabetes, lung diseases and cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.’

How was the study carried out? 

For the study, adults were asked about their viewing habits at the turn of the century. They were followed-up after 12 years. Some 130 inflammatory-related deaths were recorded, compared to 172 non-inflammatory related deaths.


Excessive TV watching is linked to eight of the major causes of death, including cancer, liver disease and Parkinson’s, a study found.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Michigan discovered that those who watch more than three-and-a-half hours of television a day are not only at risk of cancer and heart disease – illnesses commonly associated with long term laziness – but also diabetes, influenza, pneumonia, Parkinson’s and liver disease.

People who watched between three and four hours of TV a day were 15 per cent more likely to die from a common cause of death, compared to those who watched less than one hour a day, who died naturally. 

They were placed into one of three groups, which ranged from watching TV for less than two hours, between two and four hours, and more than four hours.

The researchers noted how those who were most likely to binge-watch TV were poorer and had a lower level of education. 

Before Netflix was around

The findings, which were originally conducted in 1999, were published in the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

But the researchers warned the reality may be even worse now, as the study was conducted before the rise of Netflix, NOWTV and Amazon Prime.

Previous studies which have found the same 

A similar study, published last July, also found binge-watching numerous episodes of your favourite TV series could be deadly.

Adults who spend five hours in front of the television each day are two-and-a-half times more likely to die from a blood clot in the lungs, Japanese scientists said.

While an Australian study released this summer showed how binge-watching Netflix could harm physical health, MailOnline reported.

University of Queensland scientists found people who watched high levels of TV had significantly less lower-body muscle strength than their more active peers.

Netflix first launched its internet streaming services in 2010 and more than 100 million households are now subscribed around the world, figures estimate.

Customers pay a monthly fee of around £6 to enable them to watch numerous different TV series from all the main channels.