Inactivity Equals to Smoking

A man that is putting himself at risk of smokingInsufficient exercise, in addition to heart disease and diabetes, may cause up to 10 percent of deaths worldwide.

In fact, inactivity itself may be a major cause of death worldwide. According to new research, inactive lifestyles have similarities to both obesity and smoking, particularly when it comes to the increasing risk of mortality and disease.

Four research-oriented papers were published online via the Lancet, a primarily online news resource. The papers were featured in a special series aimed at physical activity, where many investigative research teams determined that the number of inactivity related deaths were around 5.3 million worldwide, covering deaths occurring as recently as 2008.

This particular figure correlates to inactivity-related risk factors for breast and colon cancer, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. It also comprises 1 out of 10 deaths worldwide, a death count close to the number of people who die as a result of smoking. Reports have cited the inactivity and mortality-related situation as an issue within low and middle income nations. Many researchers, however, often depict the situation as a problem affecting people on a global level.

One-third of the world’s adults may face a 20 percent to 30 percent risk for disease. This number accounts for over 1.5 billion worldwide. This risk is due to these adults failing to engage in routine physical activity, consisting of at least 150 minutes of routine-oriented exercise each week, as recommended by public health professionals and authorities. This figure increases when applied to the world’s population of adolescents or young people. Around 4 in 5 adolescents partake in ultimately risky inactive lifestyles.

Researchers from facilities like the Harvard Medical School of Boston stated that around 6 percent of coronary heart disease cases originate from a lack of proper, or enough, daily exercise. This figure was also linked to around 7 percent of people who suffer from type-2 diabetes. Physical inactivity also affects an average of 10 percent of people suffering from breast and colon cancer worldwide. These cases of physical inactivity, however, don’t account for most parts of the world, as many regions of the world suffer from population-level inactivity at different rates.

Statistics on Smoking vs. Inactivity

As an example, the figure of about 43 percent of inactive North Americans is comparable to the figure of 17 percent of inactive Southeast Asians. Europe also suffers from an inactive population, ranging region-by-region from a staggering 70 percent estimate in Serbia and Malta to a low 17-18 percent in both the Netherlands and Estonia.

Inactivity-related cases of disease vary by region. Heart disease-related deaths caused by inactivity may cause the most problems within Europe, as noted by the aforementioned researchers. In 2008, around 121,000 fatalities were linked with inactivity in Europe alone. For a comparison, North Americans experienced over 60,000 cases of inactivity-related deaths, while 44,000 occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean area during the same year.

Although the inactivity-related death overview seems bleak, researchers still hold an optimistic view of the situation. They suggested that if physical inactivity-related deaths get cut by around 10 percent worldwide, the process may save over 500,000 lives. The figure may reach around 1.3 million if 25 percent of those deaths were prevented.

Researchers serving at the University of Tennessee suggest that public health measures may cut the number of inactivity-related deaths worldwide. Moderate physical activity like walking and cycling can have health benefits, commented Gregory Heath of the University of Tennessee. Public health organizations need to understand strategies that may go into encouraging physical activity for many different regions and cultures, in order to promote eliminating physical inactivity as a public health measure.

There are potential health benefits resulting from mass media campaigns designed to promote physical activity, in addition to social support networks like recreational clubs and community-based exercise classes. These efforts to promote public safe spaces are mainly designed to get people out and engaging in physical activity like walking or biking.

A team headed by Michael Pratt of the U.S. Center of Disease Control and Prevention introduced cellphones and text messaging as a method of promoting pro-exercise messages to the general public. The growth of the mobile phone sector, in addition to the high prevalence of physical inactivity in low to middle income countries, may affect these regions on a population-level, subsequently promoting global health.

Having an inactive lifestyle can be attributed to varying factors. Those within our control and those outside the realm of our ability to influence, such as adrenal fatigue. A symptom of an overworked biological system that cannot cope with copious amounts of stress, that comes in the form of a neuroendometabolic (NEM) stress response. One of the key responses related to fatigue within the NEM’s model, is the hormonal response. Regulated by the adrenals, gonads and thyroid, it is largely responsible for the secretion of cortisol. The primary anti-stress hormone produced in our bodies. The mismanagement and deregulation of the NEM stress response brings forth symptoms of fatigue and exercise intolerance that can most assuredly influence our activity levels.


A man that is putting himself at risk of smoking