Couch potatoes two-and-a-half times more likely to be killed by Covid, study finds

COUCH potatoes are up to two-and-a-half times more likely to be killed by Covid, research reveals.

U.S. experts found inactive adults were at more than double the risk of being admitted to hospital with the virus compared to those getting regular exercise.

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Couch potatoes are two-and-a-half times more likely to be killed by Covid, research found


Couch potatoes are two-and-a-half times more likely to be killed by Covid, research foundCredit: Alamy

Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana, California, compared outcomes in 48,440 Covid patients.

Inactivity was found to be the third biggest risk factor for severe illness – worse than smoking, or having heart disease or diabetes.

Only being elderly and having had an organ transplant put an individual in greater danger from Covid.

Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researcher Dr Robert Sallis said: “It is notable that being consistently inactive was a stronger risk factor for severe Covid outcomes than any of the underlying medical conditions and risk factors identified by The Centers for Disease Control except for age and a history of organ transplant.

“In fact, physical inactivity was the strongest risk factor across all outcomes, compared with the commonly cited modifiable risk factors, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, hypertension [high blood pressure], cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

NHS guidance says all adults should get 150 minutes of exercise each week – such as a 30 minute brisk walk five times a week.

But one in five are currently classed as inactive, according to NHS Digital data.

Dr Sallis added: “Short of vaccination and following public health safety guidelines such as social distancing and mask use, engaging in regular physical activity may be the single most important action individuals can take to prevent severe Covid.”

The average Brit is around 20 per cent less active than in the 1960s – with lockdown making it harder for many to stay fit.

Campaigners said the devastating findings were a “wake-up call” for the nation to get more exercise.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “We know physical inactivity is one the greatest causes of death and disease globally and the UK’s activity levels are not where they should be, weakening us against Covid-19.

“There is an opportunity for the Government to prioritise physical activity through both greater investment and taxation and regulatory reform, and begin to improve our national wellbeing following this crisis.”

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