Harvard University researchers found that physical inactivity is causing 5.3 million deaths per year.
Parking yourself on the sofa for hours on end may be just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes.
After analyzing the activity levels of people in 122 countries, Harvard University researchers found that physical inactivity is causing 5.3 million deaths per year—enough to qualify as a global pandemic.
“Inactivity plays a role in almost every chronic disease there is,” including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, physiologist John P. Thyfault of the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine tells WebMD.com.
One in three adults isn’t getting the minimum levels of exercise that doctors recommend—about 30 minutes of moderate activity, like a brisk walk, five times a week.
People in wealthy countries tend to get less exercise than those in poorer nations, because they drive more, do less physical work, and spend more time in front of TVs and computers. Experts say increasing activity levels by just 10 percent worldwide could prevent half a million deaths per year.