More than 20 million people in the UK are physically inactive, increasing their risk of heart disease and premature death, a new report warns.
The report by British Heart Foundation represents the most up-to-date analysis of UK adults and their level of inactivity – one of the most significant health crises threatening peoples cardiovascular health.
More than 20 million adults in the UK are failing to meet guidelines for physical activity, and women are 36 per cent more likely to be considered physically inactive than men, the report said.
Statistics show the regions in England where people are most physically inactive, with the North West coming out worst as almost half of the adult population – 2.7 million adults – are insufficiently active.
Evidence is growing that also shows a sedentary lifestyle, regardless of how physically active you are, is associated with poor health.
“Our estimates show that the average man in the UK spends a fifth of their lifetime sitting – the equivalent of 78 days each year. For women this is around 74 days a year,” the report said.
More than 5 million deaths worldwide are attributed to physical inactivity. In the UK alone it causes one in ten premature deaths from coronary heart disease, and one in six deaths overall, it said.
Evidence shows keeping physically active can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by as much as 35 per cent and risk of early death by as much as 30 per cent.
“Physical inactivity is one of the most significant global health crises of the moment,” Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director, British Heart Foundation, said.
“Levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour in the UK remain stubbornly high, and combined these two risk factors present a substantial threat to our cardiovascular health and risk of early death,” he said.