The prevalence of e-mail use in the UK is creating a generation of overweight and unfit office workers, Sport England has warned.
The government agency responsible for promoting sport said many white-collar workers would now rather click a button to send information than get up and walk to a colleague’s desk.
Dr Dorian Dugmore, a health adviser to Sport England, said: “We’re losing millions of hours of exercise through the use of e-mail.
“People e-mail colleagues who sit next to them, never mind those who work on the other side of the office,” he said. “We have to change people’s lazy attitudes.”
Sport England has been set a target by the government of increasing participation in sport and physical activity by 3% in the next three years.
As a result, it is launching ‘E-mail-free Friday’. It wants employers to introduce a ban on all internal e-mails every Friday and get employees walking around their office.
Increasing activity levels by just 10% could save 6,000 lives and £500m per year, according to Dugmore.
“[It could mean] one million fewer obese people in England and 15,000 fewer people with coronary heart diseases,” he said.
A number of employers have already taken steps to cut down on e-mails.
Mobile phone retailer Phones 4U operates a no e-mail policy to encourage staff to communicate directly with colleagues, while Sainsbury’s recently banned internal e-mails on Wednesdays to encourage head office staff to visit its stores.