[S]itting around most of the day has become as deadly as smoking or obesity.
Specifically, using data from W.H.O. and other large population studies worldwide, the researchers determined that inactivity is linked to about 6 percent of all instances of heart disease on Earth; 7 percent of Type 2 diabetes cases; and 10 percent of all breast and colon cancers, including among people who don’t smoke and are of normal weight.
About 5.3 million people a year die from diseases tied to physical inactivity, the authors calculated.
By comparison, about 5.1 million die annually because of smoking, as an accompanying comment article points out.
What can be done globally to slow or reverse the trend toward physical inertia? Other studies and comments in the Lancet series propose both governmental and personal action, including building more parks, promoting bike commutes and providing financial incentives, like lower insurance premiums, to encourage exercise, as well as using cellphone apps and other technologies to nudge people toward more movement.
“It only takes a 20- or 30-minute walk most days of the week,” [says Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, who led the study.] “With rare exceptions, everyone, everywhere can manage that,” and five million lives around the world could be extended.
Read the rest of this article in the New York Times