Inactivity More Deadly Than Obesity

Inactivity 'more deadly than obesity'

Inactivity and lack of exercise could be killing twice as many people as obesity.


The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, attempted to evaluate the relative dangers of inactivity and obesity.


Obese vs Inactive


Researchers followed 334,161 people for 12 years. They assessed exercise levels and waistlines and recorded every death.

The study showed that eliminating inactivity would cut mortality rates by nearly 7.5%, but eliminating obesity would cut rates by just 3.6%.

Findings concluded that doing at least 20 minutes of brisk walking a day would have substantial benefits.

Experts said exercise was beneficial for people of any weight.

Obesity and inactivity often go hand in hand. However, it is known that thin people have a higher risk of health problems if they are inactive. And obese people who exercise are in better health than those that do not.


Tackling Both Obesity and Inactivity


Commenting on the findings, Barbara Dinsdale, from the charity Heart Research UK, said: “This study once again reinforces the importance of being physically active, even when carrying excess weight.

“Changing your lifestyle is all good news for heart health. But physical activity is always easier to achieve and maintain without carrying the extra ‘body baggage’ of too much weight.”

Prof John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said changes were needed to make exercise easier.

“We need substantial investment in cycling infrastructure to make our streets safer. If more people cycled or walked to work or school, it would make a big difference in raising levels of physical activity.”


A Brisk Walk


Prof Ekelund, who is based in Norway, is into cross country skiing and clocks up at least five hours of vigorous exercise each week.

However, he says all it would need to transform health, is brisk walking.

“I think people need to consider their 24-hour day. Twenty minutes of physical activity, equivalent to a brisk walk, should be possible for most people. To or from work, on lunch breaks, or in the evening instead of watching TV.”

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