Obesity is one of the biggest perpetrators of a wide spectrum of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart ailments.
Every year, close to 5 million deaths are attributed to physical inactivity and associated factors. While processed food items are slowly making inroads into our lifestyle, lack of physical activity is another bane of urban living. While many international health bodies press for walking at least 10,000 steps a day, the World Health Organisation suggests at least 150 minutes of "moderate aerobic activity" and strength training on at least two days a week.
Experts suggest that an active lifestyle can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by as much as 35%. Regular physical exercising can cut the risk of early death by close to 30 percent.
More than 20 million adults in the UK are failing to meet guidelines for physical activity, and women are 36 per cent more likely to be considered physically inactive than men, the report said. Statistics show the regions in England where people are most physically inactive, with the North West coming out worst as almost half of the adult population - 2.7 million adults - are insufficiently active.
Evidence is growing that also shows a sedentary lifestyle, regardless of how physically active you are, is associated with poor health. "Our estimates show that the average man in the UK spends a fifth of their lifetime sitting - the equivalent of 78 days each year. For women this is around 74 days a year," the report said. More than 5 million deaths worldwide are attributed to physical inactivity.
In the UK alone it causes one in ten premature deaths from coronary heart disease, and one in six deaths overall, it said. Evidence shows keeping physically active can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by as much as 35 per cent and risk of early death by as much as 30 per cent. "Physical inactivity is one of the most significant global health crises of the moment," Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director, 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," he said.