People who spend long hours plopped in front of their TV may be putting themselves at greater risk of diabetes, heart disease and death, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and reported by Reuters Health.

For the study, researchers evaluated previous research that checked the link between TV viewing and disease. The evaluation included eight studies that followed more than 200,000 people for an average of seven to 10 years.

Scientists found that for every two hours of TV people watched each day, their risk of diabetes escalated by 20 percent, their risk of heart disease rose by 15 percent and their overall risk of dying climbed by 13 percent.

“The combination of a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet and obesity creates a ‘perfect breeding ground’ for type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” said lead study author Frank Hu, MD, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

But this isn’t the first study to link TV watching with bad results for everyone, especially obese and overweight kids. Previous findings showed that this everyday pastime is also associated with obese children experiencing elevated blood pressure. What’s more, another study showed that overweight kids who watched TV food ads tended to double the amount of stuff they ate.

What’s interesting is researchers estimated that if everyone watched just two hours less of TV a day, it would stop 176 new cases of diabetes, 38 cases of fatal heart disease and 104 premature deaths every year.

And while the study can’t prove that TV watching on its own caused an increased risk of disease, there’s no denying that there’s a link between the two actions. What can people do? Eat a balanced diet and engage in 30 minutes of physical activity at least five times each week, medical experts suggest.

Click here to learn what other small lifestyle changes can make a big difference in lowering your risk of diabetes.