Inactivity as bad as smoking
Inactivity is as deadly as smoking, according to a new study.
Published in the Lancet journal to coincide with the start of the London Olympic Games, the study pooled together the work of 33 health experts and estimated that around 5.3 million deaths each year are the result of people not getting enough exercise.
The researchers said that deaths from laziness are now so regular that the problem is of pandemic proportions and new ways of tackling the issue have to be thought up.
One of the proposals put forward involves launching a scheme which, rather than focusing on the benefits of leading an active lifestyle, focuses on the dangers of inactivity.
In an ideal world, each person would do around 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, every week.
According to the study, people who live in the most wealthy countries are the one which get the least exercise despite them often having access to the best training facilities.
And the UK ranks amongst the worst-affected with almost two-thirds of people not getting the exercise their body needs.
Lead researcher Pedro Hallal said: "With the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games, sport and physical activity will attract tremendous worldwide attention.
"Although the world will be watching elite athletes from many countries compete in sporting events... 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."
It’s a view which is shared by Professor Lindsey Davies, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health.
She 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.
"Our environment has a significant part to play. For example, people who feel unsafe in their local park will be less likely to use it."