Inactivity is the new obesity

The Mayo Clinic logo flashes across a workstation Thursday, May 26, 2005 in Rochester, Minn., that combines a computer, desk and treadmill into one unit. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

To those who struggle with their weight, frustration is a couch potato with a perfect body mass index.

Until now.

Yes, he might look good in a bathing suit. And yes, he doesn’t have to shop in the “big and tall” department.

But new research at Britain’s University of Cambridge indicates he doesn’t have it all made. A sedentary person’s risk of early death, it turns out, is double the risk from obesity.

Obesity increases the risk of early death too, of course. And obesity is often linked to a sedentary lifestyle.

But after tracking 334,161 men and women for 12 years, scientists found that burning even just 90-110 calories a day reduced the risk of early death by 16 to 30 percent. A daily brisk walk for 20 minutes is adequate. Certainly more exercise is even better.

Say, for example, bicycling to work. Yet another justification for moving ahead with local projects to serve bicyclists and pedestrians, such as the lane conversion on the Ashley River Bridge between West Ashley and the peninsula.