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Activity deficit worldwide

Friday September 22nd, 2017

Persuading everyone, worldwide, to ensure they undertake half an hour of activity daily could reduce rates of cardiovascular disease by nearly 5%, according to the findings of major global study published today.

People only need to be active five days a week, according to the study reported in The Lancet. Mortality from cardiovascular disease would reduce by 8%, the study found.

The researchers say their findings are significant because they show the link between inactivity and cardiovascular disease in all regions and countries.

The study involved some 130,000 people in 17 countries and found that about 20% of people did not meet physical activity guidelines. But 44% were highly active.

In high income countries, physical activity was often undertaken in leisure time but in poorer countries this was rare – and mostly people kept fit because they were active because of travel, occupation or as housekeepers.

The researchers say this shows the challenge of enabling inactive people in poor countries to achieve fitness.

Researcher Professor Scott Lear, of St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada, said: "Meeting physical activity guidelines by walking for as little as 30 minutes most days of the week has a substantial benefit, and higher physical activity is associated with even lower risks.

"The affordability of other cardiovascular disease interventions, such as generic drugs and consuming fruits and vegetables, are often beyond the reach of many people in low-income and middle-income countries. However, physical activity represents a low cost approach to preventing cardiovascular disease.”

Dr Scott Lear et al. The effect of physical activity on mortality and cardiovascular disease in 130000 people from 17 high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries: the PURE study Lancet 21 September 2017; doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31634-3 [abstract]

Tags: Fitness | North America | World Health

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