Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS) is on the rise due to lack of physical activity. SeDS is more than one disease, it’s a long list of ailments that includes but is not limited to hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycemia, type II diabetes (NIDDM), stroke, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis and many others.
According to research conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Ischaemic heart diseases (including angina, blocked arteries of the heart and heart attacks) has been the leading cause of death since the year 2000, followed by Cerebrovascular Disease (Strokes) ranking in #2 out of 21 Causes of Death [i].
Diabetes, ranking at #8 in 2009 [i], is predicted to become the major cause of morbidity and mortality in the Australian community by 2016 [ii]. More than 220 million people worldwide have diabetes, and diabetes-related deaths are projected to double between 2005 and 2025 [ii].
A recent Australian study has found that prolonged periods of sitting may not only be detrimental to people’s health but may also counteract the benefits of regular moderate to vigorous physical activity. This is thought to be due to decreases in insulin sensitivity and abnormal processing of glucose that are associated with sitting for lengthy periods without standing up or moving around [iii].
Diet is a very common risk factor for chronic disease, with over 90% of Australians failing to consume the recommended amounts of vegetables each day, and only half consuming enough fruit [iv].
Almost 60% of Australians do not undertake sufficient physical activity to incur health benefits, such as maintaining healthy body weight and a healthy musculoskeletal system. Sufficient activity is defined as at least 150 minutes in 1 week over at least 5 sessions.[v]
According to research published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the risk factors for chronic disease is defined as daily smoking, risky/high risk alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, insufficient amounts of fruit, insufficient amounts of vegetables, fat intake*, obesity, large waist circumference**, high hip-waist ratio***, and high blood pressue [vi].
So Australia, it’s time to get moving! It’s never too late to start, nor is it ever too early to start. A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology suggested 40 minutes a day of exercise lessened depression in obese children whilst improving the self esteem [vii]. Exercise helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Weight-bearing exercises has numerous benefits including the improvement of bone strength, helping reduce the chances of osteoporosis.
So the next time you’re looking for a parking spot, park a little further (not surprisingly, there’s always more spots further away) to fit in that little bit of extra cardio. Buy bags of mixed frozen veggies to get more veggie variety in your meals while upping your intake, and run up the stairs instead of standing in the lift. Stuck in a desk job tapping away at the keyboard? Get up, walk around, get some water, and stretch every so often. Go out for a walk during your lunch break. Even better yet, ask your Boss to arrange a lunch-time corporate bootcamp in your building with Time Smart Personal Training.
* Defined as the usual consumption of whole milk [vi].
** A measure of, or greater, than 94 centimetres for men and 80 centimetres for women. [vi]
*** A measure of 1.0 or more for men, and 0.85 or more for women [vi.]
[i]. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011, Causes of Death, Australia (2009) updated 03/05/11,
[ii]. Centre for Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, Tackling the problem of 'lifestyle diseases', The University of Sydney,
[iii].Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011, Physical Activity in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007-8 Measures of Physical Activity,
[iv].Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Chronic disease risks embedded in Aussie lifestyle, updated 27/3/2012,
[v] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2012. Risk factors contributing to chronic disease. Cat No. PHE 157. Canberra: AIHW, pg. vii,
[vi] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2012. Risk factors contributing to chronic disease. Cat No. PHE 157. Canberra: AIHW, pg. 17,
[vii] Bryner J., 2010, Childhood Obesity Takes Psychological Toll, Too, Live Science, updated 14/2/2010