Public health experts are raising the alarm over a decline in physical activity, which has been linked to 12.7 percent of all deaths.
Nearly half of New Zealand adults did not meet recommended daily activity levels, and that lead to avoidable premature deaths, College of Public Health Medicine President Caroline McElnay said.
Dr McElnay said a lack of exercise was the cause of almost 8 percent of all heart disease; almost 10 percent of type 2 diabetes; 13.1 percent of breast cancer cases; and just over 14 percent of colon cancers.
Physical activity needed to be designed back into people's lives.
That included encouraging them to walk and cycle, or take the stairs not the lift, as well as simple measures such as employers installing standing desks and having walking meetings.