Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

A billion adults at risk from lack of exercise

The WHO study has highlighted a health equity issue where women face more environmental social and cultural barriers to participate in physical activity Quarter of world's population 'not active enough to stay healthy'
Anna Jefferson | 08 September, 2018, 13:13

They found that in 2016, around one in three women (32%) and 23% of men worldwide were not attaining recommended healthy levels of physical activity - at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week.

"The estimates demonstrate that there has been little progress in improving physical activity levels between 2001 and 2016".

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

The study was only based on activity levels that were self-reported by 1.9 million men and women from 358 population surveys. High income countries are more inactive (37 per cent) compared with middle income (26 per cent) and low income countries (16 per cent).

Only six per cent of adults in Uganda and Mozambique were insufficiently active - the lowest levels of all countries.

Steven Ward, chief executive of the charity UK Active, said: "Inactivity is the cause of 20,000 premature deaths in the UK each..."

From 2001-2016, substantial changes in insufficient physical activity levels were recorded in multiple regions.

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.

Among developed nations, it ranked the USA 143rd on the list, the United Kingdom 123rd while Australia came in at 97th, with the higher numbers indicating a more inactive population.

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Although the worldwide problem of inactivity is clear, the solutions are less so.

In four countries, more than half of adults were insufficiently active - Kuwait (67%), American Samoa (53%), Saudi Arabia (53%), and Iraq (52%).

"It is prevalent in every country and has the same impact on chronic disease", said Thompson, who was not involved in the study.

The authors called for a significant increase in national action is urgently needed in most countries to scale-up implementation of effective policies.

The study suggests that living in a high income country, you're twice as likely not to get the exercise you need (36·8 percent), than in a low-income country (16·2 percent). (iStock) The figures put Australia behind the global average of 27.5 percent of people not doing enough exercise. So it's pretty worrying so many people don't move enough. "Small changes in behavior, like parking your auto in the last row instead of the first row at the grocery store or climbing stairs instead of the elevator, are just two examples". Publication of levels of participation in children and young people are forthcoming.

"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.

"It is vitally important that we take notice of this research, because physical inactivity is a risk factor for heart disease, which continues to be the leading killer of Australians".

With the release of the World Health Organization findings today, New Zealanders can use this timely opportunity to think about how to reintroduce regular physical activity back into their lives.

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