A series of five studies released in British medical journal The Lancet reveals that 1 in 10 deaths worldwide is caused by physical inactivity. The lack of activity in individuals caused over 5.3 million deaths in 2008, from diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.
Harvard researchers say getting the rates of physical inactivity down by just 10% to 20% could save from half-million up to 1.3 million lives each year.
The study series was released days before the start of the 2012 Olympics in London, as people prepare to witness athletes competing in different physical events. Harvard researcher Dr. I-Min Lee wrote: “This summer, we will admire the breathtaking feats of athletes competing in the 2012 Olympic Games. Although only the smallest fraction of the population will attain these heights, the overwhelming majority of us are able to be physically active at very modest levels, which bring substantial health benefits.”
The first of the five studies revealed that one third of adults and almost 80 per cent of adolescents in the world increase their risk of disease due to physical inactivity. The second study focused on possible reasons why certain people get enough exercise while others do not. The third study looked into programs and types of programs that are effective in promoting physical activity. The fourth study found how techonology could be a key to helping people achieve healthy levels of physical activity. The final study proposed considering physical inactivity as a global pandemic.