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Inactivity is as Bad for You as Smoking

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Inactivity is a major cause of death worldwide, with new research suggesting that a sedentary lifestyle is on par with both smoking and obesity when it comes to raising the risk for disease and mortality.

A number of investigating teams peg the number of inactivity-related deaths at 5.3 million worldwide as recently as 2008.

This figure attributed to an inactivity-related risk for major killers such as breast and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease amounts to roughly one out of every 10 deaths globally, a tally more or less equivalent to the number of people who die as a result of smoking.

One-third of all adults face a 20% to 30% greater risk for disease due to inactivity (150 minutes of moderate exercise per week) typically recommended by public health authorities.

That figure rises dramatically among adolescents, among whom four in five engage in a risky sedentary lifestyle.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston noted that about 6% of coronary heart disease cases are from a lack of adequate exercise, along with about 7% of type 2 diabetes cases. Physical inactivity also accounts for an average of about 10% of breast and colon cancer cases worldwide.

About 43% of North Americans are deemed to be inactive. There were 60,000 heart disease deaths brought on by a sedentary lifestyle in North America.

The research team suggests that if physical activity could increase by as little as 10% globally, as many as 533,000 lives could be saved. That figure would rise to as high as 1.3 million if inactivity were to be sliced by as much as 25%.

Because even moderate physical activity such as walking and cycling can have substantial health benefits, understanding strategies that can increase these behaviors has become a public health priority.

For help creating your exercise and wellness plan, contact Answer is Fitness.

US News



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