A quarter of the world’s adults are not active enough

A quarter of adults are too inactive, putting health at risk

A quarter of adults are too inactive, putting health at risk

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that a quarter of the world's population is at increased risk of many life-threatening diseases.

The highest levels of inadequate physical activity in 2016 were found among women in Latin America, the Caribbean, south Asia and high-income Western countries.

In its Global Action Plan issued in June, WHO outlined its goal to help decrease overall physical inactivity in the world by 10 percent before 2025, but warned in its latest report that this goal won't be reached if current trends continue. For the study, that was published in The Lancet Public Health, researchers took into account activity-related data from 358 surveys.

In 2016, around one in three women and one in four men worldwide were not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity to stay healthy - at least 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

Shockingly, nearly 40 percent of Irish women didn't get enough physical activity in 2016.

Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia and Iraq are the four countries where more than half of adults have been categorized as insufficiently active.

The study tracked activity levels of 1.9 million people in 168 countries across the world during 2016.

"Collaboration across sectors could generate significant returns, because policies that support increasing physical activity can provide other benefits to health, local economies, community wellbeing, and environmental sustainability, and contribute towards achieving numerous 2030 SDGs", The Lancet concluded.

While Sub-Saharan Africa recorded the lowest level of physical activity in men ( 20%) in 2016.

A quarter of adults are too inactive, putting health at risk
Get your shoes on: study says a lot of Irish women are inactive

In wealthier countries, the transition towards more sedentary occupations, recreation and motorised transport could explain the higher levels of inactivity, while in lower-income countries, more activity is undertaken at work and for transport, according to the authors.

China and Russian Federation had relatively low ratios of physically inactive adults at 14 percent and 17 percent, respectively. The global figure for insufficient exercise was 27.5 percent in 2016 compared with an estimated 23.3 percent in 2010.

The BBC report quotes that in the United Kingdom alone, 40 per cent of women were found to be inactive whereas the figure was 32 per cent for men.

About three-quarters of countries have a policy or action plan to increase physical activity among its citizens, but few have been implemented or made a substantial impact, Dr. Fiona Bull of World Health Organization, a co-author of the report, said.

Besides, they said cultural norms, traditional roles, or lack of social and community support might lead to reduced participation in physical activity among girls and women.

People from higher income countries tended to be more inactive at 36.8 percent compared to middle income countries at 26 percent.

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. She added that they can also improve environments so more people can walk, cycle or physically move in other ways.

-Insufficient physical activity is a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases, and has a negative effect on mental health and quality of life.

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