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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Combined television viewing and computer use and mortality from all-causes and diseases of the circulatory system among adults in the United States

Earl S Ford

Author affiliations

Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, MS K67, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA

Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2012, 12:70  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-70

Published: 23 January 2012



Watching television and using a computer are increasingly common sedentary behaviors. Whether or not prolonged screen time increases the risk for mortality remains uncertain.


Mortality for 7,350 adults aged ≥ 20 years who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 1999-2002 and were followed through 2006 was examined. Participants were asked a single question about the amount of time they spent watching television or videos or using a computer during the past 30 days.


During a median follow-up of 5.8 years, 542 participants died. At baseline, 12.7% of participants reported watching television or using a computer less than 1 h per day, 16.4% did so for 1 h, 27.8% for 2 h, 18.7% for 3 h, 10.9% for 4 h, and 13.5% for 5 or more h. After extensive adjustment, the hazard ratio for all-cause mortality for the top category of exposure was 1.30 (95% confidence interval: 0.82, 2.05). No significant trend across categories of exposure was noted. The amount of screen time was also not significantly related to mortality from diseases of the circulatory system.


In the present study, screen time did not significantly predict mortality from all-causes and diseases of the circulatory system.

Mortality; Sedentary lifestyle; Television