Published: Fri, September 22, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Any kind of physical activity can help reduce deaths, disease: worldwide study

Any kind of physical activity can help reduce deaths, disease: worldwide study

The benefits increased with increase in physical activity.For instance, people getting more than 750 minutes of brisk walking per week had an even lesser risk of death.

It could also prevent one in 20 cases of heart disease, the research shows.

The study found "no ceiling effect", the researchers said, and "no risks associated with extremely high levels of physical activity", defined as more than 2,500 minutes, or more than 41 hours, per week.

"Of the 106,970 people who met the activity guidelines, 3.8 percent developed cardiovascular disease, compared to 5.1 percent of people who did not", according to the authors. It killed 9.48 million people globally in 2016.

"The affordability of other cardiovascular disease interventions, such as generic drugs and consuming fruits and vegetables, are often beyond the reach of many people in low-income and middle-income countries". Yet walking is free and brings substantial health gains.

Around a fifth of those in the study did not meet World Health Organisation guidelines of 150 minutes' exercise a week.

According to the study authors, nearly a quarter of the world s population do not meet this requirement. Lear's team said their study findings suggest that if the entire population were to meet the guidelines, one in 12 of the world's premature deaths would be averted and 4.6 percent of heart disease cases prevented. The researchers recommend trying to build physical activity into a daily lifestyle, such as commuting on foot or by bicycle and staying active at work.

Information on participants aged 35 to 70 was analysed and followed for almost seven years, and the number of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and other diseases and disorders among the participants were observed and compared with their levels of physical activity.

This was irrespective of which country the study participants came from, the type of activity, or whether it was undertaken for leisure or as part of daily transport or housework.

Lear is a professor in the faculty of health sciences at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.

The study was published in the Lancet medical journal.

"However, the study is admired for the large sample size; more than 130,000 participants from 17 different countries with different economic levels".

"We need to know more on how exactly we can increase physical activity".

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