A recent report has estimated that about one-third of adults worldwide are not doing enough physical activity – causing just as many deaths as smoking, BBC News reported.
Published in the Lancet, the study said adult inactivity leads to 5.3 million deaths each year, equating to one in 10 deaths caused by diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.
According to the researchers, physical inactivity has become such a problem that it should be viewed and treated as a pandemic. To combat the crisis, they proposed warning the public more about the dangers of not exercising rather than continually telling them of the health benefits of being active.
The study also said while it was hard to compare between countries, people in higher-income nations were the least inactive overall. Adults in the U.K. were found to be the worst when it came to exercise, with two-thirds judged not to be doing enough.
Pedro Hallal, one of the lead researchers for the study, told BBC News, “The global challenge is clear – make physical activity a public health priority throughout the world to improve health and reduce the burden of disease."
Hallal said he hopes the 2012 Olympics will help bring physical activity to the forefront of people’s minds. He and his colleagues also suggested the governments should work harder to make exercise more convenient and affordable.