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Physical activity linked to lower risk of chronic disease

Physical activity linked to lower risk of chronic disease

Higher levels of total physical activity are strongly associated with lower risk of five common chronic diseases – breast and bowel cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke – according to a study in The BMJ

Posted: 10 August 2016

Many studies have shown being physically active at work, engaging in domestic activities, gardening, housework, walking and cycling can benefit health.

This led the World Health Organisation (WHO) to recommend a minimum total physical activity level of 600 metabolic equivalent minutes a week.

A team of researchers based in the US and Australia analysed the results of 174 studies published between 1980 and 2016 and examined the associations between total physical activity and at least one of the chronic diseases.

They found that a higher level of physical activity was associated with a lower risk of all five conditions.

These results suggest that total physical activity needs to be several times higher than the current recommended minimum to achieve larger reductions in the risk of developing these diseases, researchers argued.

“With population ageing, and an increasing number of cardiovascular and diabetes deaths since 1990, greater attention and investments in interventions to promote physical activity in the general public is required.

“More studies using the detailed quantification of total physical activity will help to find a more precise estimate for different levels of physical activity,” they added.