Inactive lifestyles costing the UK Ј1 billion

In collaboration with the Press Association

People who lead "couch potato" lives could be adding to the cost of operating the NHS, claims a new report.

Research conducted at Oxford University has discovered that the cost of treating patients on the NHS because of inactivity could cost around £1.06 billion each year.

Low levels of physical activity are linked to several cancers, including bowel cancer and breast cancer.

However, the researchers estimate that the cost could be even higher because of informal care costs and the impact on the country's economy, with three per cent of all deaths and illnesses in 2002 attributed to a lack of physical activity.

"Our results show that there is an economic case for developing policies and interventions that promote physical activity," the researchers write.

"One third of all deaths are due to diseases which could be at least partly reduced by increased physical activity."

Cancer Research UK's Reduce the Risk campaign encourages people to realise the significant health benefits of regular exercise, as well as maintaining a healthy diet, attending regular screening, giving up smoking, and being sun-aware.

Find out more about our Reduce the Risk campaign