Sedentary lifestyle: Worse for your health than smoking – Presse santé

We’ve all heard that exercise leads to a longer life. But a new study goes even further, finding that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease. Dr Wael Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic and lead author of the study, called the results “extremely surprising”.

For Dr Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, responsible for the study recently published in the international medical journal JAMA: “Having a very poor score in a physical exercise test indicates a worse prognosis , with regard to premature death, than being hypertensive, diabetic or current smoker”. He adds, “Being unfit on a stress test should be considered as big a risk factor as hypertension, diabetes and smoking, or even stronger than all three combined. »

Sedentary lifestyle: 500% more risk of premature death

To reach this conclusion, the researchers retrospectively studied 122,007 patients who underwent an exercise test on a treadmill to measure all-cause mortality in relation to the benefits of exercise and physical fitness. . By comparing sedentary people with the most physically efficient during stress tests, it appeared that the risk of death is “500% higher” among inactive people. By comparing the test results with known negative health risk factors, they found the risk of premature death from sitting is about three times higher than from smoking.

Benefits of exercise at any age

On the other hand, the situation is reversible, there is no limit to the benefit of exercise, adds the researcher, even in very strong athletes. “There is no level of exercise or fitness that puts you at risk,” Dr. Jaber also concludes. The benefits of exercise have been observed in all ages, in both men and women. Whether you’re in your 40s or 50s, you’ll benefit from the physical activity you devote yourself to.

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“Doctors should prescribe physical exercise”

Cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are diseases that are growing more and more in Western countries. Lifestyle, and in particular physical inactivity, is one of the major factors in the occurrence of these diseases. But it’s reversible, “doctors are really effective in treating patients who have had cardiovascular events, better if they help prevent them. For patients, especially those who lead sedentary lifestyles “You should require a doctor’s prescription for exercise,” he concludes.


Kyle Mandsager, Serge Harb: Association of Cardiorespiratory Fitness With Long-term Mortality Among Adults Undergoing Exercise Treadmill Testing JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(6):e183605. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3605


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