Inactivity Killing More Than Smoking

Physical inactivity becoming global pandemic: Study

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 18, 2012 4:00 AM CDT | Updated Jul 21, 2012 12:59 PM CDT

(Newser) – The people of the world need to get off their butts, scientists have concluded after an extensive review of global mortality statistics, which revealed that physical inactivity is killing more people than smoking. Researchers, declaring inactivity to be a pandemic, estimate that out of the 57 million or so deaths in 2008, 5.3 million were premature ones caused by a failure to engage in at least 150 minutes of walking or other moderate exercise per week, ABC reports. Tobacco use killed around 5.1 million people the same year.

North Americans and Europeans are global leaders in inactivity, but the rest of the world is starting to catch up, the study found. Many people fail to realize that a sedentary lifestyle, even for people who seem healthy, appears to be as bad for individuals as smoking or being severely overweight, the lead researcher warns. With the Olympics on the way, now is a "good time to remind ourselves that we were meant to be physically active," he says. "It's good for our health. We may not be Olympians, but almost all of us can walk 15 to 30 minutes a day, which would improve health."

Young people are getting even less exercise than most adults, researchers found.
Young people are getting even less exercise than most adults, researchers found.   (Shutterstock)
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Common sense supports the conclusion reached by science: Failure to put our innate animal vitality through its native paces is taking life from our years, and years from our lives. - Dr. David Katz, director of
the Yale Prevention Center

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