Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Lack of exercise puts one in four people at risk, World Health Organization says

Globally 27 per cent of people do not take enough exercise compared with 36 per cent in Britain Globally 27 per cent of people do not take enough exercise compared with 36 per cent in Britain Times
Steve Townsend | 08 September, 2018, 13:13

By becoming more active, it says, people can improve muscular and cardio-respiratory fitness, better bone health, weight control and reduced risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and various types of cancer.

The report, which demonstrates that low physical activity levels are prevalent in high-income countries compared to poorer countries, also points out that these levels rose by 5% between 2001 and 2016 in the states with the most significant Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

They found in high-income countries, which include the United Kingdom and the U.S., the proportion of inactive people had risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016, while in low-income countries it had remained stable at 16%. The highest rates of insufficient activity in 2016 were found in adults in Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, where more than half of all adults were insufficiently active.

Approximately 1.9 million people from 168 countries participated in the survey based on self-reported activity levels.

The WHO study found that between 2001 and 2006, there was no progress in improving physical activity levels.

If current trends continue, the global target of reducing sedentary lifestyle by 10% by 2025 will not be met, the scientists said. Participants included people 18 and older in 168 countries, an increase over the previous World Health Organization study from 2010, which included only 146 countries. Physical inactivity was defined as "not doing at least 150 min of moderate-intensity, or 75 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or any equivalent combination of the two".

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More than 1.4 billion adults are putting themselves at heightened risk of deadly diseases by not getting enough exercise, doctors are warning, with global activity levels virtually unchanged in almost two decades. Women weren't as active as men, and high-income countries weren't as active as middle or lower-income nations.

According to experts the levels of inactivity worldwide is alarming and not effort have been made to eradicate the scenario.

In east and southeast Asia however, physical inactivity decreased from 26 percent in 2001 to 17 percent in 2016, largely due to increased exercise among the Chinese population, the authors noted.

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.

Overall, Australian women are less physically active than Australian men - which reflects worldwide trends.

"As countries urbanise, people who used to be, say, farmers, and got a lot of physical activity through their work all of a sudden live in an urban environment where they might be without work or move to a sedentary job, so societies need to compensate", she said. Publication of levels of participation in children and young people are forthcoming.

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