Sedentary Lifestyle As Deadly As Smoking

A lack of exercise is now causing as many deaths as smoking across the world, a study suggests.

The , published in the Lancet to coincide with the build-up to the Olympics, estimates that about a third of adults are not doing enough physical activity, causing 5.3m deaths a year. That equates to about one in 10 deaths from diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer.

Researchers said the problem was now so bad it should be treated as a pandemic. And they said tackling it required a new way of thinking, suggesting the public needed to be warned about the dangers of inactivity rather than just reminded of the benefits of being active. The team of 33 researchers drawn from centres across the world also said governments needed to look at ways to make physical activity more convenient, affordable and safer. It is recommended that adults do 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling or gardening, each week.


The Lancet study found people in higher income countries were the least active with those in the UK among the worst, as nearly two-thirds of adults were judged not to be doing enough. The researchers admitted comparisons between countries were difficult because the way activity was estimated may have differed from place to place. Nonetheless, they said they remained confident that their overall conclusion was valid.

But others questioned equating smoking with inactivity. While smoking and inactivity kill a similar number of people, smoking rates are much lower than the number of inactive people, making smoking more risky to the individual.

How sedentary or how active is your lifestyle today? Do you take time to check on your health or to make sure that you do not live an inactive lifestyle?

Source: BBC News

Image: Helina Min

Sitting Too Much May Decrease Longevity

New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that people who spend a lot of time sitting may be up to 40% more likely to die from any cause, compared to people who don’t sit as long.

Compared to people who spent less than four hours per day sitting, the odds of dying were:

  • 15% higher for people who sat for at least eight hours
  • 40% higher for people who sat for 11 or more hours a day

“Our findings add to the mounting evidence that public health programs should focus not just on increasing population physical activity levels, but also on reducing sitting time,” the researchers write.

Alpa V. Patel, PhD, has published studies on the health risks associated with too much sitting. She is an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta. “We are continuing to demonstrate time and time again in different populations that there is something real to the association between sitting time and reduced longevity.”


What’s so bad about sitting for long periods? That’s not totally clear. But exercise and movement do have a positive effect on blood fats called triglycerides and other heart risks, and improves blood pressure, Patel says. Her advice: Sit for five fewer minutes per hour. “Small changes can have a big impact,” she says.

The new study doesn’t prove that sitting killed people. It’s not clear which came first — poorer health or spending more time in a chair. Still, there is no doubt that being active is healthy. “The key is to do something you like to do, whether it’s sports, going to the gym, walking, or gardening. “If it is terribly unenjoyable, the likelihood of sustaining it is pretty low.”

Source: Web MD

Image: Alternavox