Physical Activity for Adults: Inactivity Leads to 5.3 Million Early Deaths a Year

Posted on July 29, 2012  Comments (4)

Obviously health care doesn’t only mean sickness treatment. Avoiding sickness is much better than treating it. Sadly we spend far too little energy on creating health and far too much on treating sickness.

Physical activity guidelines for adults (follow link for more details and guidelines for others) from the UK National Health Service

To stay healthy, adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and should do:

  • At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, or
  • 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week
  • and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Sedentary lifestyle can kill

one in three adults worldwide fails to do the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week. In the UK two out of three adults don’t manage it.

So rather than stressing the health benefits of exercise, the Lancet researchers have opted to show the harm caused by inactivity. They estimate lack of exercise is responsible for about 5.3m deaths a year – about the same number as smoking.

This is based on estimates of the impact on inactivity on coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and two specfic cancers – breast and bowel – where lack of exercise is a major risk factor.

Related: Today, Most Deaths Caused by Lifetime of InactionStudy Finds Obesity as Teen as Deadly as SmokingCan Just A Few Minutes of Exercise a Day Prevent Diabetes?An Apple a Day is Good Advice

Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy

Worldwide, we estimate that physical inactivity causes 6% (ranging from 3·2% in southeast Asia to 7·8% in the eastern Mediterranean region) of the burden of disease from coronary heart disease, 7% (3·9—9·6) of type 2 diabetes, 10% (5·6—14·1) of breast cancer, and 10% (5·7—13·8) of colon cancer. Inactivity causes 9% (range 5·1—12·5) of premature mortality, or more than 5·3 million of the 57 million deaths that occurred worldwide in 2008. If inactivity were not eliminated, but decreased instead by 10% or 25%, more than 533 000 and more than 1·3 million deaths, respectively, could be averted every year. We estimated that elimination of physical inactivity would increase the life expectancy of the world’s population by 0·68 (range 0·41—0·95) years.

4 Responses to “Physical Activity for Adults: Inactivity Leads to 5.3 Million Early Deaths a Year”

  1. neal randolph-sherrod
    August 15th, 2012 @ 11:26 am

    This is an unfortunate outcome of our affluent lifestyle. I wonder if our future holds more physical activity as a part of normal life?

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