The Couch Potato Goes Global – NYTimes.com

Another sad aspect to globalization and lifestyle trends. 31 percent of the world’s adults are almost completely sedentary, and more than 80 percent of kids between 13-15 are not getting the hour a day of exercise recommended. Quote:

What can be done globally to slow or reverse the trend toward physical inertia? Other studies and comments in the Lancet series propose both governmental and personal action, including building more parks, promoting bike commutes and providing financial incentives, like lower insurance premiums, to encourage exercise, as well as using cellphone apps and other technologies to nudge people toward more movement.

But perhaps the most intriguing and potentially viable suggestion in the Lancet series is to start emphasizing just how deadly physical inactivity can be. “I don’t think most people really understand that not exercising,” even if someone is otherwise healthy, “appears to be just as unhealthy” as smoking or being severely overweight, Dr. [I-Min] Lee says. A sedentary life is shorter than it should be.

On the other hand, inactivity is easier for most of us to combat than a nicotine addiction or intransigent obesity, she adds. “It only takes a 20- or 30-minute walk most days of the week,” she says. “With rare exceptions, everyone, everywhere can manage that,” and five million lives around the world could be extended.

The Couch Potato Goes Global – NYTimes.com.

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