ibusinesslines.com September 19, 2018

Inactivity puts adults worldwide at risk of disease

08 September 2018, 01:14 | Melissa Porter

Sluggish Britons are among the laziest people in Europe

Quarter of world's population 'not active enough to stay healthy'

If adults were to become more active, they can improve their muscular and cardio-respiratory fitness, bone health, weight control and reduce their risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and various types of cancer.

The research shows there was little progress in improving physical activity levels between 2001 and 2016.

More than half of all adults in Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq were insufficiently active, while inadequate levels elsewhere of 40 per cent appeared in the US, 36 per cent in the United Kingdom and 14 per cent in China. In each of these countries, more than half the adult population was insufficiently active.

To stay at peak health, adults are recommended to accumulate at least 150 minutes physical activity at a moderate intensity every week.

"Although a recent NCD policy survey showed that nearly three quarters of countries report having a policy or action plan to tackle physical inactivity, few have been implemented to have national impact", Bull said. During 2016, activity levels of 1.9 million people in 168 countries around the world were tracked.

The surveys took note of physical activity in work, at home, for transport and during leisure time - so we have no excuses.

The WHO study also found lower activity in women than in men, with the ratio of physically inactive adults registering 32 percent and 23 percent, respectively, in each gender. It is the first study to estimate the global trends in physical activity.

The high inactivity in wealthier countries can be explained with the fact that many people lead increasingly stationary lives, in which occupations and recreational activities have become more sedentary, transport has become motorized, and the general use of technology has risen.

Overall, the figures put Australia behind the global average of 27.5 percent of people doing an insufficient amount of activity.

The Ministry of Health welcomes World Health Organization (WHO) findings about worldwide physical activity trends, which reinforces key messages about the benefits of being regularly physically active.

Across regions, many individual countries recorded large differences in insufficient activity between women and 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. "Such policies are particularly important in countries with rapid urbanisation, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, which contribute to the high levels of insufficient activity in Latin America and the Caribbean". "Governments have recognized the need for action by endorsing the WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (2018-2030)", said Dr Bull. "What is needed are progressive, large-scale, multilevel interventions, especially targeting women, that create safe and culturally acceptable opportunities for physical activity and empower women to participate in physical activity", she writes.

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

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