0144 GMT February 19, 2020
The researchers also found the risk of early death due to lack of exercise is double that posed by obesity and does not necessarily depend on being obese or overweight.
These were the conclusions of the team that analyzed the data on over 334,000 men and women taking part in a large European study looking at the links between cancer and diet that also measured many other variables such as exercise and BMI, Medical News Today wrote.
When they analyzed the data, the researchers found that compared with the number of deaths linked to obesity, twice as many were linked to lack of physical activity — and , moreover — just a modest increase in physical activity could make a difference, especially among inactive people.
Ulf Ekelund, a sport medicine professor at the University of Cambridge, says the study delivers a simple message: "just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits for people who are physically inactive."
The team found the greatest reductions in risk of early death when they compared inactive and moderately active participants. They used a measure of physical activity derived from combining leisure and at work activity.
The links between early death and physical inactivity were observed across all levels of overweight and obesity measures — both in terms of overall BMI and central or abdominal obesity.
The study classed 22.7 percent of participants as inactive because they reported having no recreational activity and were occupied in sedentary jobs.
The team notes that while the effect of this was greatest among participants of normal weight, the analysis showed this also benefited overweight and obese participants.