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More than 20 million Brits 'physically inactive', study reveals

04/04/2017

More than 20 million Brits 'physically inactive', study revealsMore than 20 million people in Britain are physically inactive and increasing their risk of heart disease, according to a new report by the British Heart Foundation.

The charity has warned that the lack of exercise by such a large proportion of the British population is costing the NHS a staggering £1.2bn each year.

Women are 36% more likely than men to be physically inactive, which the report defines as not meeting the UK government's guidelines for physical activity - 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity and strength exercises on two or more days a week.

However, despite the report finding that 11.8 million women were physically inactive compared with 8.3 million men, it is actually men who sit down for longer (78 days a year compared to 74 for women).

Furthermore, inactivity levels differ by region. For example, 47% (2.7 million) of people living in the North West of England were found to be inactive, whereas people in the South East had the lowest rate at 34%.

Over five million deaths across the world each year are attributed to physical inactivity, making it one of the top 10 leading causes of death. In the UK, physical inactivity contributes to almost one in 10 premature deaths from coronary heart disease each year, as well as one in six deaths from any cause.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the 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.
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