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August 2003

Inactivity and Inaction: We Can't Afford Either

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(8):731-732. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.8.731

PHYSICAL INACTIVITY is epidemic. Approximately 70% of US adults and 50% of US youth (aged 12 to 21 years) are sedentary (ie, undertake <30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day as recommended by the US Surgeon General).1 A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, Ga) found that 256 686 (14% of total) deaths in 1986 in the United States were a result of no regular exercise.2 Sedentary behavior is an independent risk factor for at least 35 chronic health conditions and increased mortality from these conditions.3 Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and obese individuals live about 7 years less than the average US lifespan. Thus, a major cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States is sedentary living. Given these facts, the term sedentary death syndrome categorizes the emerging entity of sedentary lifestyle–mediated disorders that ultimately result in increased mortality rates.

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