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Inactivity as bad as smoking

18th July 2012

Health experts have warned that lack of exercise is now causing as many deaths across the globe as smoking.

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Their report suggests about one third of adults are not doing enough exercise, leading to some 5.3m deaths every year, which equates to about one in 10 deaths from diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer.

The report timed to coincide with the build-up to the Olympic Games in London saw 33 researchers from centres across the world take part in the study.

They say that the number of people not doing enough exercise is now reaching pandemic proportions and to help tackle it, governments should look at ways to make physical activity more convenient, affordable and safer, as well as warning people about the danger of inactivity.

Writing in The Lancet, they recommend adults do 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week such as brisk walking, cycling or gardening.

People in higher income countries were least active with the UK among the worst.

Researcher Pedro Hallal said: “With the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games, sport and physical activity will attract tremendous worldwide attention…but most spectators will be quite inactive.

“The global challenge is clear - make physical activity a public health priority throughout the world to improve health and reduce the burden of disease.”

Professor Lindsey Davies, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, said: “We need to do all we can to make it easy for people to look after their health and get active as part of their daily lives.”

 

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