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World population increasingly inactive - WHO

Wednesday September 5th, 2018

More than a quarter of the world’s adult problem is not active enough, significantly increasing risk of a range of diseases, according to a major study published today.

Rates of inactivity are increasing in high income countries, leading to 1.4 billion adults being “insufficiently active” in 2015, according to the report in The Lancet Global Health.

The highest rates of inactivity are in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and American Samoa where more than half of all adults fail to meet necessary activity levels, researchers from the World Health Organisation found. In Kuwait the problem affects 67% of adults.

The problem affects 40% of adults in the USA, 36% in the UK and 14% in China.

Women are more inactive than men. A third of women globally and a quarter of men do not do enough physical activity, the researchers say.

The findings come from 358 surveys involving 1.9 million people in 168 countries.

Overall, inactivity levels increased by 5% in wealthy countries but by a negligible amount in poorer countries.

Researcher Dr Regina Guthold, from WHO, said: “Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.

“Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

“Although a recent NCD policy survey showed that almost three quarters of countries report having a policy or action plan to tackle physical inactivity, few have been implemented to have national impact.”

Fellow researcher Dr Fiona Bull said: “Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”

The Lancet Global Health 5 September 2018

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(18)30357-7/fulltext

Tags: Asia | Fitness | North America | UK News | World Health | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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