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What Couch Potatoes Don't Know Can Hurt Them

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Nov 28th 2018

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The fastest way to get a sedentary person moving is to tell them the specific health dangers of inactivity, a new report suggests.

For the study, researchers surveyed 615 Australian adults, aged 18 to 77, about their levels of physical activity, as well as their knowledge about the benefits of exercise and the dangers of being a couch potato.

Even though 99.6 percent of the respondents strongly agreed that physical activity benefits health, most did not know all the diseases associated with inactivity.

"Most people know that physical activity is good for health. Few people know the specific benefits of physical activity for health, and it may be this specific knowledge that positively influences their physical activity behavior," said study leader Stephanie Schoeppe, from Central Queensland University in Australia.

On average, the survey participants correctly identified about 14 of 22 diseases associated with a lack of physical activity. But nearly 56 percent didn't know how much physical activity is needed for health, and 80 percent didn't know the chances of developing diseases due to inactivity.

The study was published online Nov. 28 in the journal PLoS One.

The researchers said they also found a significant association between knowledge of inactivity-related diseases and a person's level of physical activity. So, "the better your knowledge on these topics, the more physical activity you're likely to get," they concluded in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.