Sedentary lifestyle

Sedentary lifestyle
Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching television are characteristic of a sedentary lifestyle
A sedentary person, or "typical couch potato"

Sedentary lifestyle is a medical term used to denote a type of lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity.[1] A person who lives a sedentary lifestyle may colloquially be known as a couch potato. It is commonly found in both the developed and developing world. Sedentary activities include sitting, reading, watching television and computer use for much of the day with little or no vigorous physical exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to many preventable causes of death.


Health effects

A lack of physical activity is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide.[2]

A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity can contribute to or be a risk factor for:


One response that has been adopted by many organizations concerned with health and environment is the promotion of active travel, which seeks to promote walking and cycling as safe and attractive alternatives to motorized transport.[14] Given that many journeys are for relatively short distances, there is considerable scope to replace car use with walking or cycling, though in many settings this may require some infrastructure modification.


It is characterized by sitting or remaining inactive for most of the day with little or no exercise.

Lack of exercise causes muscle atrophy, i.e. shrinking and weakening of the muscles and accordingly increases susceptibility to physical injury. Additionally, physical fitness is correlated with immune system function[15]; a reduction in physical fitness is generally accompanied by a weakening of the immune system. A review in Nature Reviews Cardiology suggests that since illness or injury are associated with prolonged periods of enforced rest, such sedentariness has physiologically become linked to life-preserving metabolic and stress related responses such as inflammation that aid recovery during illness and injury but which due to being nonadaptive during health now lead to chronic diseases.[16]

Despite the well-known benefits of physical activity, many adults and many children lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle[17][18] and are not active enough to achieve these health benefits.

In the 2008 United States American National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 36% of adults were considered inactive.[19] 59% of adult respondents never participated in vigorous physical activity lasting more than 10 minutes per week.[19]

See also


  1. ^ "Prevalence of Sedentary Lifestyle". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1991. Retrieved January 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ Lopez AD, Mathers CD, Ezzati M, Jamison DT, Murray CJ (May 2006). "Global and regional burden of disease and risk factors, 2001: systematic analysis of population health data". Lancet 367 (9524): 1747–57. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68770-9. PMID 16731270. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Physical Activity". World Health Organization. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Daniel M. Landers. "The Influence of Exercise on Mental Health". President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Retrieved February 05, 2010. "The research literature suggests that for many variables there is now ample evidence that a definite relationship exists between exercise and improved mental health. This is particularly evident in the case of a reduction of anxiety and depression." 
  6. ^ "Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Diseases". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Physical inactivity a leading cause of disease and disability, warns WHO". World Health Organization. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  8. ^ Flicker, Leon; McCaul, Kieran A.; Hankey, Graeme J.; Jamrozik, Konrad; Brown, Wendy J.; Byles, Julie E.; Almeida, Osvaldo P. (January 27, 2010). "Body Mass Index and Survival in Men and Women Aged 70 to 75". Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (John Wiley & Sons) 58 (2): 234–241. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02677.x. PMID 20370857. Retrieved January 29, 2010. "Being sedentary doubled the mortality risk for women across all levels of BMI but resulted in only a 28% greater risk for men" 
  9. ^ "Who Is At Risk for High Blood Pressure?". National Institutes of Health. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Obesity and Overweight for Professionals: Causes". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 19, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Overweight and Obesity: What You Can Do". Office of the Surgeon General. Retrieved January 19, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Exercise and Bone Health". National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. 2009. Retrieved February 01, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Osteoporosis - Frequently Asked Questions". United States Department of Health and Human Services. 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
  14. ^ "KidsWalk-to-School: Barriers and Solutions". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2010. 
  15. ^ "How can I give my immune system a boost?". National Health Service. Retrieved January 24, 2010. 
  16. ^ Charansonney OL, Després JP. (2010). Disease prevention--should we target obesity or sedentary lifestyle? Nat Rev Cardiol. 7(8):468-72. doi:10.1038/nrcardio.2010.68 PMID 20498671
  17. ^ "Physical Activity Statistics". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, February 2009". National Health Service. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  19. ^ a b Pleis, John R.; Lucas, Jacqueline W.; Ward, Brian W. (2008). "Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey". Series Reports from the National Health Interview Survey #10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. pp. 11. 

External links

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