Eliminating prolonged sedentary behaviour could have prevented 69,276 deaths in the UK in 2016, according to a study recently published in the BMJ.
The report states there is growing evidence that prolonged sedentary behaviour increases the risk of several chronic health conditions and mortality.
The researchers, from Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, calculated that the total NHS cost attributable to prolonged sedentary behaviour in the UK in 2016–2017 was £0.8bn, which included expenditure on cardiovascular disease (£424m), type 2 diabetes (£281m), colon cancer (£30m), lung cancer (£19m) and endometrial cancer (£7m).
They said this “conservative” estimate of direct healthcare costs shows prolonged sedentary behaviour causes a considerable burden to the NHS in the UK.
In the study, sedentary behaviour was defined as spending at least six hours of waking time a day sedentary. And figures show that 30% of adults in the UK are indeed sedentary for at least that amount of time per day during the week, rising to 37% on the weekend.
The researchers warned that these individuals are consequently at risk of developing chronic disease.
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