If you thought just being obese was a death sentence, a new study just came out revealing that inactivity was twice as bad. Of course obese people usually are inactive, so it goes hand in hand with not getting off that couch for a minimal amount of time a day. So get up and start moving!
To assess the link between lack of exercise and early death – and how it might relate to this via obesity – the team analyzed data on 334,161 men and women across Europe taken between 1992 and 2000 as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study.
The dataset included measures of height, weight, waist size and self-reported physical activity levels. The participants were followed for over 12 years, during which time 21,438 of them died.
The team found the greatest reductions in risk of early death when they compared inactive and moderately active participants. They used a measure of physical activity derived from combining leisure and at work activity.
The links between early death and physical inactivity were observed across all levels of overweight and obesity measures – both in terms of overall BMI and central or abdominal obesity.
The study classed 22.7% of participants as inactive because they reported having no recreational activity and were occupied in sedentary jobs.
The analysis found that doing exercise that burned just 90-110 calories a day – the equivalent of a daily 20-minute brisk walk – was enough to move an individual from the inactive to the moderately inactive group and reduce their risk of early death by 16-30%.
The team notes that while the effect of this was greatest among participants of normal weight, the analysis showed this also benefited overweight and obese participants.