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Is laziness a disease? Some health professionals think so

August 10, 2010 17:51 IST

Two health professionals are proposing that physical inactivity is a 'disease' and should be classified as such. Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

If you think laziness is a bad habit, think again, for health experts claim it's a "disease".

A team from Imperial College London and University College London has said physical inactivity should be classified as a "disease in its own right" -- since the link between inactivity and poor health is so strong.

"Given the significant associated mortality and morbidity, we propose that perhaps physical inactivity should also be considered for recognition as a disease in its own right," said Dr Richard Weiller of Imperial College London. 

Obesity is already classified as a disease by the World Health Organisation, he said, adding it was often partially the result of a deeper cause -- not doing enough exercise. 

"Money is pumped at treating the symptoms of physical inactivity -- at obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease -- but not at the root cause," Weiller was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying.

Dr Weiller said recent studies showed only one in 20 people took the minimum amount of recommended exercise, but
there was still "no coordinated plan" to tackle the problem.

He asked: "Can we afford to leave physical activity promotion in primary care as the 'would-be-nice' preventive option, offered typically in the form of unstructured advice by inadequately trained professionals?" 

The findings have been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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