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Risks of Physical Inactivity

What health risks are associated with physical inactivity?

Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and other conditions:

  • Less active, less fit persons have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

  • Studies indicate that physically active people are less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who are inactive--even after the researchers accounted for smoking, alcohol use, and diet.

  • Lack of physical activity can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. 

  • Physical inactivity may increase the risk of certain cancers. 

  • Physically active overweight or obese people significantly reduced their risk for disease with physical activity.

Facts about sedentary lifestyles

Thousands and thousands of deaths result each year due to a lack of regular physical activity. In addition:

  • Inactivity tends to increase with age.

  • Women are more likely to lead sedentary lifestyles than men.

  • Non-Hispanic white adults are more likely to engage in physical activity than Hispanic and non-Hispanic black adults.

Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Sohrabi, Farrokh, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 1/14/2013
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