Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Inactivity puts adults worldwide at risk of disease

Inactivity puts adults worldwide at risk of disease

Such a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a host of health problems like type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, even cancer.

The research also found that females in Australia are doing less physical activity than males, with 33.6 percent of women not getting enough exercise compared to 27 percent of men.

The report's authors warned that as things stood the WHO's 2025 target of reducing global inactivity by 10% would be missed.

-More than 1.4 billion adults across the world have an increased risk of disease because they are not exercising enough, The Lancet Global Health reports in a new study.

A World Health Organization study based on surveys across 168 countries says about half of women and a quarter of men in India are not sufficiently active.

The WHO's recommended physical activity guidelines are fairly close to those set by the Centers for Disease Control: healthy adults should get at least two and half hours of moderate-intensity activity - or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity - per week, plus at least two muscle-strengthening days.

In high-income countries the proportion of inactive people has risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016, while in low-income countries it's remained stable at 16%.

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The study was only based on activity levels that were self-reported by 1.9 million men and women from 358 population surveys.

Dr Mike Brannan, national lead for physical activity at Public Health England, said: "These figures highlight the global issue of inactivity and the United Kingdom is no exception". In comparison, east and southeast Asia recorded the largest decrease in insufficient activity, from 26 percent in 2001 to 17 percent in 2016, which was largely influenced by uptake of physical activity in China.

The prevalence was 20 percent to 29.9 percent among men in Bangladesh while 30 percent to 39.9 percent in women.

In wealthier countries, a transition towards more sedentary jobs as well as sedentary forms of recreation and transport could explain higher levels of inactivity.

China and Russian Federation had relatively low ratios of physically inactive adults at 14 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

The authors of the study note that these inequalities have to be addressed globally, for example by giving women improved access to exercise that is affordable, safe and accepted in their culture. "While declines in occupational and domestic physical activity are inevitable, it is essential to incentivise transport and leisure-time physical activity in emerging economies through improving public and active transportation infrastructure, promoting social norms for physical activity through mass sports and school-level participation, and implementing sustainable programs at scale that could yield economic, environmental, and social co-benefits while promoting physical activity".

The WHO added that insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for premature death worldwide.

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