More physical activity and less sedentary behaviour: advice for CVD prevention

Adrian Bauman, Ding Ding, Josephine Chau, Karen Milton



Physical activity remains an important but undervalued strategy for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, and evidence is accumulating for sedentary behaviour (‘too much sitting’) as a new risk factor. For GPs, asking patients about both their physical activity and prolonged sitting time is a key first step. Promotion of regular physical activity in primary care has been shown to result in significant short to medium term increases in physical activity among individuals and is important brief advice to provide to everyone who accesses clinical care.

Key Points

  • Physical inactivity remains a major cardiovascular risk factor.
  • Providing advice to promote and increase physical activity is an ongoing challenge in clinical practice.
  • Prolonged sitting is a new risk factor associated with cardiometabolic risk.
  • Prolonged sitting may be associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular disease and mortality. However, people who are regularly physically active in their nonsitting time may offset these effects.

    Picture credit: © Solovyova/iStockphoto. Model used for illustrative purposes only.