Exercise and Health

Readers of the News Blog will have seen previous articles on exercise and health.[1] [2] It is more dangerous to have diabetes or to smoke than to be a coach potato, but there are many more coach potatoes than people living with diabetes or smokers, so overall, more people lose their lives from inactivity than from either the diabetes or the tobacco. It also turns out that the marginal gains of more exercise decrease as total exercise increases. Totally sedentary people (about 25% of the US population) have by far the highest risk. This is the basis for an interesting review and editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine, advocating policy focusing on the totally sedentary,[3] [4] as well as a news article in the BMJ.[5]

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Lilford R. Anti-obesity interventions. Dec 12 2014. [Online].
  2. Lilford R. Two provocative papers on diet and health. Dec 12 2014. [Online].
  3. Biswas A, Oh PI, Faulkner GE, Bajaj RR, Silver MA, Mitchell MS, et al. Sedentary time and its association with risk for disease incidence, mortality and hospitalization in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162; 123-32.
  4. Lynch BM, Owen N. Too much sitting and chronic disease risk: steps to move the science forward. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162: 146-7
  5. Mayor S. Prolonged sitting increases risk of serious illness and death regardless of exercise, study finds. BMJ. 2015; 350: h306.

One thought on “Exercise and Health”

  1. The CLAHRC-WM Director’s blog on exercise and health included what seemed to be the obvious statement regarding the diminishing marginal health gains from increasing exercise levels. So obvious (tongue in cheek), it has even been recognised in a sports science journal (Buckley, The Sport & Exercise Scientist, 42, 12-13). We need simple solutions that can be adopted by those most sedentary; the incredibly simple solution of standing rather than sitting increases calories burned by around 0.8 per minute (Buckley, op cit). While the walk from the car park to the counter won’t quite result in a neutral calorific effect (unless the queue is similar to that in the QEH), it’s certainly less damaging than the drive-through Costa outlets that are now springing up to join the drive-through McDonalds’. Is it any wonder we are living in an obesiogenic society when our ‘incentives’ to be mobile are being taken away from us? And can someone please explain why we pay VAT to go swimming?

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