Physical inactivity kills 5 million a year: report

A third of the world's adults are physically inactive, and the couch potato lifestyle kills about five million people every year, experts said in the medical journal The Lancet on Wednesday.

"Roughly three of every 10 individuals aged 15 years or older -- about 1.5 billion people -- do not reach present physical activity recommendations," they said in a report that described the problem as a "pandemic."

The picture for adolescents is even more worrying, with four out of five 13- to 15-year-olds not moving enough, it said.

was described for the study as failing to do 30 minutes of five times a week, 20 minutes of three times a week, or a combination of the two.

Inactivity increases with age, is higher in women than in men, and more prevalent in high-income countries, the researchers found.

A second study, comparing physical activity levels with population statistics on diseases like diabetes, heart problems and cancer, said lack of exercise claimed more than 5.3 million of the 57 million deaths worldwide in 2008.

It said inactivity was a risk factor comparable to smoking or obesity.

Lack of exercise causes an estimated six percent of cases, seven percent of type 2 diabetes (the most common form) and 10 percent of breast and colon cancers, it said.

Reducing inactivity by 10 percent could eliminate more than half a million deaths every year, the report said, adding that the estimates were conservative.

The human body needs exercise to help the bones, muscles, heart and other organs function optimally, but populations are walking, running and cycling less and less as they spend more time in cars and in front of computers, the investigators said.

The Lancet series called for global efforts to promote by improving pedestrian and cyclist safety on city roads, for example, more physical education at school or promoting access to free public exercise spaces.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Physical exercise helps keeps cancer at bay: WHO

Feb 03, 2011

The World Health Organisation is advising people engage in at least 150 minutes of "moderate" physical exercise a week to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancers, in new recommendations published Friday.

Study links inactivity with risk factors for Type 2 diabetes

Aug 23, 2011

79 million American adults have prediabetes and will likely develop diabetes later in life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the number of people diagnosed with diabetes continues to grow, researchers ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments