Strong evidence shows that physical inactivity increases the risk of many adverse health conditions, including the world’s major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) of coronary heart disease (CHD), type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers, and shortens life expectancy. Because much of the world’s population is inactive, this presents a major public health problem.
- We estimate that physical inactivity is responsible for
- 6% of the burden of disease from CHD (range: 3.2% in South-east Asia to 7.8% in the Eastern Mediterranean region);
- 7% of type 2 diabetes (3.9% to 9.6%),
- 10% of breast cancer (5.6% to 14.1%), and
- 10% of colon cancer (5.7% to 13.8%).
- Inactivity is responsible for 9% of premature mortality (5.1% to 12.5%), or >5.3 of the 57 million deaths that occurred worldwide in 2008.
- If inactivity were not eliminated, but decreased instead by 10% or 25%, >533,000 and >1.3 million deaths, respectively, may be averted each year.
- By eliminating physical inactivity, life expectancy of the world’s population is estimated to increase by 0.68 (0.41 to 0.95) years
For the UK
Estimated population attributable fractions (PAF, 95% uncertainty interval), calculated using adjusted relative risks,* for CHD, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, and all-cause mortality associated with physical inactivity for the UK were
|Type 2 Diabetes
Physical inactivity has a major health impact on the world. Elimination of physical inactivity would remove between 6% and 10% of the major NCDs of CHD, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers, and increase life expectancy.