Physical inactivity kills 5 million a year: report

July 18, 2012

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.

Explore further: 2 in 5 adults with rheumatoid arthritis are physically inactive

Related Stories

2 in 5 adults with rheumatoid arthritis are physically inactive

January 26, 2012
A new study, funded by a grant from the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), found that two in five adults (42%) with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were inactive. Taking measures to ...

Some exercise is better than none; more is better to reduce heart disease risk

August 1, 2011
Even small amounts of physical activity will help reduce heart disease risk, and the benefit increases as the amount of activity increases, according to a quantitative review reported in Circulation, journal of the American ...

Study links inactivity with risk factors for Type 2 diabetes

August 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 ...

Even with regular exercise, people with inactive lifestyles more at risk for chronic diseases

August 2, 2011
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of Americans have inactive lifestyles (they take fewer than 5,000 steps a day) and 75 percent do not meet the weekly exercise recommendations (150 minutes ...

More than 40 percent of patients with RA are inactive

April 3, 2012
(HealthDay) -- More than 40 percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis are inactive, with lack of motivation and lack of belief in physical activity strongly related to inactivity, according to a study published in the ...

Recommended for you

Postmenopausal women should still steer clear of HRT: task force

December 12, 2017
(HealthDay)—Yet again, the nation's leading authority on preventive medicine says postmenopausal women should avoid hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Will 'AI' be part of your health-care team?

December 12, 2017
(HealthDay)—Artificial intelligence is assuming a greater role in many walks of life, with research suggesting it may even help doctors diagnose disease.

State-level disclosure laws affect patients' eagerness to have their DNA tested

December 12, 2017
Different types of privacy laws in U.S. states produce markedly different effects on the willingness of patients to have genetic testing done, according to a new study co-authored by an MIT professor.

Babies born during famine have lower cognition in midlife

December 12, 2017
Hunger and malnutrition in infancy may lead to poor cognitive performance in midlife, according to a new study.

Full moon linked to increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes

December 11, 2017
The full moon is associated with an increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, finds a study in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

'Man flu' may be real

December 11, 2017
The much-debated phenomenon of "man flu" may have some basis in fact, suggests an article published in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.