Inactivity Twice as Dangerous to Health as Obesity

Today, rates of inactivity are at an all time high in part due to the technological advancements that have made our lives more efficient. More people travel to work by car or public transportation, rather than, say, cycling or walking, and once at work many of the tasks to be completed simply require one to sit at a computer. However, this is not a new phenomenon. In a 1971 issue of Consumers’ Research magazine, writers noted the rising levels of inactivity and overweight rates, as well as the appearance of fad diets. Today we still face concerns of rising inactivity rates and faced even more with the effects of it on our health.

To be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the latest study on inactivity suggests a lack of exercise may be twice as deadly as obesity. The University of Cambridge linked 676,000 deaths each year over a 12-year period to inactivity, compared with 337,000 deaths linked to being overweight.

But isn’t obesity a result of being inactive? While that is often the case, previous studies have found that thin individuals who are inactive are at a higher risk for health problems than obese individuals who exercise.

Researcher Professor Ulf Ekelund says,

The greatest risk [of an early death] was in those classed inactive, and that was consistent in normal weight, overweight and obese people… But I don’t think it’s a case of one or the other. We should also strive to reduce obesity, but I do think physical activity needs to be recognized as a very important public health strategy.”

Researchers recommend 20 minutes of activity, such as brisk walking, daily.


Read more here- “Inactivity ‘Deadlier than Obesity’,” (Press Asociation, The Daily Mail)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.


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