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Lack of exercise causes 12.7% of all deaths in New Zealand

Lack of exercise causes 12.7% of all deaths in New Zealand
March 7, 2015

A lack of physical exercise is one of the most significant causes of death in New Zealand, and a national action plan is needed to increase Kiwis’ everyday levels of activity.

The New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine says physical activity should be designed back into New Zealanders’ everyday lives through changes to transport policy, urban and building design, and through measures as simple as employers installing standing desks and having walking meetings.

College President  Dr Caroline McElnay explains “nearly half (48%) of New Zealand adults do not meet recommended daily physical activity levels and this creates huge societal costs and leads to avoidable, premature death.”

A lack of adequate physical activity causes 7.9% of heart disease in New Zealand, 9.8% of Type 2 diabetes, 13.1% of breast cancer and 14.1% of colon cancer.

Overall, it is thought that a lack of physical activity causes 12.7% of all deaths in New Zealand.

The College is calling for more resourcing for cycle ways and pedestrian areas, including greater provision of green space, in urban areas.

It wants all commercial buildings to have shower facilities and says the use of stairs should be promoted over the use of lifts. Secure storage should be provided for workers who commute by bike.

Employers are being encouraged to develop an organisational physical activity policy, install stand-up desks, have walking meetings and provide subsidised gym memberships.

Dr McElnay added “over recent decades we have successfully engineered physical activity out of everyday life.

“Work is now largely sedentary, transport is largely sedentary, free time is scarce and hence active time is low.

“In order to live longer, we must address the way we live and structure everyday physical activity back into our lives.”

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23rd May 2014 - FitEx Convention to celebrate New Zealand’s exercise industry

26th March 2014 - New Zealand’s exercise trends for 2014

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