1.4billion risk serious ill-health by scorning exercise

Ben Davidson
September 7, 2018

The new Global Action Plan on Physical Activity sets the target to reduce physical inactivity by 10% by 2025 and 15% by 2030. People who do not meet this guideline are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers, research shows.

More Irish women than men are getting "insufficient physical activity", new data shows.

"Countries will need to improve policy implementation to increase physical activity opportunities and encourage more people to be physically active", Dr. Fiona Bull, the study's senior author, said in a press release. The highest were 67 percent in Kuwait, 53 percent in American Samoa, 53 percent in Saudi Arabia and 52 percent in Iraq.

In 159 of 168 countries, the prevalence of insufficient physical activity was lower in men than in women, with a difference of at least 10 percentage points in 65 countries, and a difference of more than 20 percentage points in nine countries, including Bangladesh.

The researchers analyzed findings from hundreds of surveys that included 1.9 million adults, 18 and older, in 168 countries.

It's also found globally activity levels haven't changed in almost two decades.

"For example, (they can include) allocating more time for physical education in schools, offering a wider slate of exercise options to appeal to a broader base and enhancing the sports and exercise experience".

Women were less active than men (23.4 percent women compared to 31.7 percent men).

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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.

'Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health.' she said.

It was deduced that mostly in high-income countries like the United Kingdom and U.S., the percentage of inactive people has increased from 32 to 37 from 2001 to 2016. Those countries were part of a larger trend: High-income nations tended to have lower exercise adherence than low-income countries, in part because work and transportation is largely sedentary in developed areas, while activity is built into the daily lives of people in less-industrialized countries.

All over the world, women were found to be less active than men, except for East and Southeast Asia.

"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".

"I consider one of the biggest barriers being our environment -physical activity has been engineered out of life, with desk-based jobs replacing labour jobs, lifts replacing stairs, cars replacing active travel", she said.

"There is not one silver bullet to overcoming the physical inactivity epidemic", said Knell, who had no part in the new World Health Organization study.

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