Television watching as sedentary behavior and atrial fibrillation: The atherosclerosis risk in communities study

Yasuhiko Kubota, Alvaro Alonso, Amil M. Shah, Lin Yee Chen, Aaron R Folsom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is no research on the association of television (TV) watching with atrial fibrillation (AF). Methods: From 1987 to 1989, the authors obtained information on the frequency of TV watching in 14,458 participants, aged 45-64 years, without a history of AF. The authors used the Cox proportional hazards model to estimate hazard ratios and their 95% confidence intervals of AF according to the frequency of TV watching (“never or seldom,” “sometimes,” “often,” or “very often”). Results: During the 294,553 person-years of follow-up, the authors identified 2,476 AF events. Adjustment for other potential confounding factors, including physical activity, did not change the associations, in which “very often” watching TV carried 1.28 (95% confidence interval, 1.09-1.50) times AF risk compared with “never or seldom” watching TV (P for trend = .002). Even among individuals who met a recommended level of physical activity, watching TV “very often” carried 1.36 (1.02-1.82) times AF risk, compared with watching TV “never or seldom.” Conclusion: Greater frequency of TV watching was independently associated with increased risk of AF even after adjusting for physical activity. Moreover, a recommended level of physical activity did not eliminate the increased risk of frequent TV watching for AF. Avoiding frequent TV watching might be beneficial for AF prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-899
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the staff and participants of the ARIC study for their important contributions. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) supported ARIC via contracts HHSN268201100005C, HHSN268201100006C, HHSN268201100007C, HHSN268201100008C, HHSN268201100009C, HHSN268201100010C, HHSN268201100011C, and HHSN268201100012C. Additional support was provided by American Heart Association grant 16EIA26410001.


  • Community-based research
  • Epidemiology
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity

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