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Sitting poses a greater risk to the country than smoking

For a generation of youngsters, spending too much time sitting is putting them at a greater risk than smoking.

That is the view of the Irish Society of Chartered, who recently carried out a survey that produced some surprising results. For example, they found that the least active adults are those aged between 18 and 24.

Sitting poses a greater risk to the country than smoking

The culture of “screen time” poses a real risk to the future health of the country as youngsters spend too much of their time on TV, video games, smartphones and tablets instead of exercising.

ISCP President Professor Marie Guidon said: “We need the nation to recognise that sitting and being sedentary is the new smoking.

“If people aren’t more physically active now, this will lead to all kinds of future problems such as greater incidence of obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, mental health challenges as well as back and pelvic problems which in turn can lead to decreased mobility and poorer quality of life.”

The survey found that on average young adults were spending five hours a day sitting in front of screens. They are expending less than half the energy they should be over the course of a week.

A unit called METmin is used to measure physical activity. 60 METmins are the amount of energy you would spend sitting contently for one hour.

Youngsters aged 18 to 24 are expending just 1,496 METmins per week, where a healthy level would be between 3,000 and 4,000.

By contrast, adults aged over 55 were the best performing people in the survey. On average, they spend more than four hours a week doing physical activity.

Written by Andrew Moore

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