Spending large amounts of time sitting or lounging around during the day is linked to around 70,000 deaths per year in the UK.
Resesrch from Queen’s University Belfast found this amounts to more than £0.7bn per year in costs to the NHS for treating the health consequences.
A large proportion of the UK population have sedentary jobs and leisure activities, and official physical activity recommendations regarding sedentary behaviour are vague.
Lead Investigator, Leonie Heron from the Centre of Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “We know that spending large parts of the day sitting down increases the risk of a number of illnesses including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This research has enabled us to put a figure on this, demonstrating the huge cost this has on the NHS and highlights the pressing need to address this issue to both reduce the financial cost and improve population health.
“Our research showed that sedentary behaviour contributed to almost 70,000 lives lost in 2016. This could have been avoided if sedentary behaviour was eliminated in the UK.”
Figures on sedentary behaviour were taken from the Health Survey for England 2012, which reported that 30 per cent of adults in England spent at least six hours/day sedentary on weekdays and that this increased to 37 per cent of adults on weekends.
Actual overall NHS spending on each of the five conditions, uplifted for inflation, was used to estimate the financial impact sedentary behaviour had on the NHS for each of the conditions in the UK in 2016-17.