Published: Fri, September 07, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

A Quarter of the World's Adults Don't Get Enough Exercise, Study Says

A Quarter of the World's Adults Don't Get Enough Exercise, Study Says

"Levels of inactivity are more than twice as high in high-income countries as compared to low-income countries, with an increasing trend in high-income countries", lead study author Regina Guthold of World Health Organization wrote in an email.

High-income Western countries have the greatest increase in the proportion of people not doing enough exercise over the period, with a rise from 31% in 2001 to 37% in 2016. One in three women and one in four men do not take enough exercise or move about enough, too often sitting at desks all day at work, in front of the TV in the evening and travelling by vehicle.

"Most women are diagnosed late, are under treated and have larger complications because they tend to neglect health and drop out from treatment more than men", said Chennai-based diabetologist Dr Anjana Mohan, who was a part of the study.

Physical inactivity is defined by experts as less than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, per week.

Out of 168 countries ranked in the report on their levels of physical activity, Australia came in at a pretty shabby 97th place: 30 percent of adults here don't meet physical activity targets. However, in 2016, around one in three women and one in four men worldwide were not reaching the such levels. For the study, that was published in The Lancet Public Health, researchers took into account activity-related data from 358 surveys.

Other main findings showed that by the end of 2016, in 55 of 168 countries, more than one-third of the population was insufficiently physically active.

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From 2001-2016, substantial changes in insufficient physical activity levels were recorded in multiple regions. Among low-income countries, there was only a 0.2 percent increase in physical inactivity, from 16 percent to 16.2 percent.

"Countries will need to improve policy implementation to increase physical activity opportunities and encourage more people to be physically active", Dr. Each of the surveys asked participants about how much physical activity they did through work, household tasks, transportation and leisure time.

The authors said this was likely to have been caused by a combination of factors, including extra childcare duties and cultural attitudes that made it harder for them to exercise.

Physical activity - which includes all everyday movement, not just exercise - lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, some forms of cancer and dementia, and improves mental health and weight control.

More than a billion adults around the world are at risk of serious disease through lack of exercise, a study has shown. Publication of levels of participation in children and young people are forthcoming.

Most countries do have policies to tackle the issue of physical inactivity but very few have demonstrated impact.

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