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Inactivity causes more health problems than obesity

A lack of exercise could be killing twice as many people as obesity across Europe claims a new study.

Conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge, the 12 year study of more than 334,161 people suggests that across Europe 676,000 deaths were down to inactivity.

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the research team concluded that even 20 minutes of exercise on a daily basis would have significant health benefits.

Lifestyle Manager Barbara Dinsdale, from the charity Heart Research UK, said: "This study once again reinforces the importance of being physically active, even when carrying excess weight.

"Changing your lifestyle is all good news for heart health, but physical activity is always easier to achieve and maintain without carrying the extra 'body baggage' of too much weight."

Prof John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said changes were needed to make exercise easier.

"We need substantial investment in cycling infrastructure to make our streets safer.

"If more people cycled or walked to work or school, it would make a big difference in raising levels of physical activity."