A study has shown that middle-aged TV watching may lead to blood clots.

  • A person who watches TV four hours per day is 35% more likely than someone who does not.
  • According to researchers, being unoccupied increases your risk for VTE (clotting condition).
  • To reduce risk, they advised Britons to have breaks from binge-watching

A major study suggests that watching too much TV could increase your chance of developing blood clots.

British scientists found that the risks were about three times higher for adults who spend four hours or more in front of their TVs per day than those who watch only two and a half hours.

The company is now encouraging people to stop for just half an hour in between box sets to “stand and stretch” and to cut down on snacking. 

Experts from Bristol University also suggested that Netflix users consider using a stationary bicycle. 

Since long-term observation by scientists, it has been known that prolonged sitting may increase your risk for venous hemorhage (VTE), which can kill thousands each year. 

Inactivity for long periods can cause blood to pool at the extremities and lead to clots. For this reason, long-haul travelers are advised to keep moving on long-haul flights. 

The new study showed that blood clots were more common in physically active individuals. 

Researchers also warned people who binge on TV tend to eat junk food, which can lead to other conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure — also clot risks.

Dr Setor Kunutsor, a researcher at the university and lead study author, said: ‘If you are going to binge on TV you need to take breaks.  

British researchers found the risk was about a third higher in adults who spent four or more hours in front of the TV a day, compared to people who watched for two-and-a-half or less. Pictured: man watching TV

British scientists found that the risks of developing cancer were about three times higher for adults who spend four hours or more in front the television per day than those who watch it only two and a half hours. Photograph: Man watching television 

“You have the option to stand for 30 minutes and then move around or ride a stationary bike. Avoid snacking while watching television.

A staggering one-in-500 Americans and Britons are at risk of blood clots every year. The reason that up to 60% of patients in hospital have been diagnosed with the condition is due to their long periods of inactivity.

Most clots occur in veins in the leg — which is called deep vein thrombosis — which is usually easily treatable. 

However, small amounts of blood clots may break apart and travel through the bloodstream to other organs like the lungs. This is called pulmonary embolism. This can lead to death if it is not caught early. 


Venous thromboembolism, also known as VTE (venous thromboembolism), is when a blood clot develops.

It includes pulmonary embolisms (PE), which is a blood clot in the lungs, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is when blood clots develop in the veins. 

A staggering one-in-500 Americans and Britons are at risk of blood clots every year. In fact, up to 60% of patients admitted to hospital have suffered from them. 

The risk factors include prolonged periods of inactivity, including those who are hospitalized or bedridden, and people over 60 years of age.

Patients with PE/DVT should be admitted to the hospital. They will receive blood thinners while they wait for an MRI to confirm their condition.

This review was published in The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. examined three studies with a total of 131,421 participants from the US and Japan aged 40 or older who had no prior clotting diagnosis and were quizzed on their TV viewing habits.

They were split into two groups: “Prolonged viewers” who watched television for more than four hours per week and “Seldom viewers”, who watched only one-and-a half hours per week.

After monitoring participants over a period of five to 20 years, researchers detected 964 cases of venous embolism (VTE). Participants who were viewed for a prolonged time frame had clots 1.35 times more often than those watching only.

Researchers found that TV fans who exercised did not reduce the chance of getting clots.

Dr Kunutsor said: ‘The findings indicate that regardless of physical activity, your BMI, how old you are and your gender, watching many hours of television is a risky activity with regards to developing blood clots.’

Researchers noted that their findings are based only on observational studies. This could mean that there is a greater risk in those who have watched more television.

But Dr Kunutsor noted prolonged TV viewing involves staying still which is a risk factor for VTE.

He stated, “This is why patients are encouraged to get up and move after surgery or on long-haul flights.”

The blood can clot if it is accumulated in your extremities instead of circulating. 

The third is that binge-watchers are more likely to consume unhealthy snack foods, which can lead to obesity or high blood pressure. Both of these factors increase the risk of getting blood clots.

Dr Kunutsor said that the results showed we need to limit our time in front of TV. In order to maintain circulation, long periods of television watching should be broken up with movements. 

‘Generally speaking, if you sit a lot in your daily life – for example your work involves sitting for hours at a computer – be sure to get up and move around from time to time.’