CITY residents are kidding themselves into believing they lead active lives while almost two-thirds spend at least 20 hours a day on their backsides or lying down, a new report has claimed.
Weight Watchers, which commissioned the research, said that 63 per cent of Edinburgh’s inhabitants are sedentary for more than four-fifths of the day and blamed a rise in technology for a lack of activity.
The slimming firm said a clear gulf existed between resident’s perception of their activity levels and the reality, with half believing they lead “busy, active lives”.
Experts said checking mobile phones and responding to work e-mails outside of office hours added to the delusion and was contributing to an “obesity epidemic”.
Almost four in ten people in Edinburgh check their mobile phone before going to bed, while more than half do so before going to sleep, it is claimed.
Chris Oliver, a top city surgeon who lost 12 stone after he had a gastric band fitted in 2007, was not surprised by the findings.
Speaking from Los Angeles as he prepares to cycle across America, he said: “People are spending far too much time using all forms of computers and the levels of exercise people are doing generally is abysmal.
“There’s research to say obesity is worse than smoking, it’s a massive societal problem. It’s shocking and it’s going to create enormous pressure on the health service.
“I had stopped exercising. I lost the work-life balance completely, but now I do something every day. I was spending hours every day on a computer. It isolates you, and ironically, social media is very antisocial.”
The firm also found that more than half of people in the city do less than half-an-hour’s exercise every day.
Regional health bosses have taken steps to encourage more active lifestyles in recent years, with the introduction of NHS Lothian’s Get Going campaign, which prompts families to take up activities such as walking, swimming or cycling while spending less time in front of the television or computers.
Anne Don, an Edinburgh Weight Watchers leader, said: “We’re appealing to Edinburgh residents to turn their ‘dead time’ that they currently spend on phones, tablets, laptops or in front of TV, into opportunities to move more. There are loads of ways that you can incorporate moving more and sitting less into your daily life. We live in such a beautiful city – with all sorts of amazing walks and sights to see.
“Why not take in the history and walk the Royal Mile, or take a gentle walk along the Water of Leith. Or if you’re looking for more of a challenge, how about tackling Arthur’s Seat and taking in the views of the city?”