Medicine

These Are the World's Most Inactive Nations

These Are the World's Most Inactive Nations

If countries work to address these disparities and build more physical activity into daily life and leisure time, they could help achieve the WHO's goal of reducing physical inactivity by 10% by 2025, the authors write.

The study, conducted between 2001 and 2016, shows that inactivity levels are more than twice as high in wealthier countries compared to countries with lower incomes.

Globally 27 per cent of people do not take enough exercise, compared with 36 per cent in Britain.

Researchers analysed information from 1.9 million men and women who participated in 358 population surveys.

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

Shockingly, nearly 40 percent of Irish women didn't get enough physical activity in 2016.

The study also said that there has been no improvement in global levels of physical activity since 2001.

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China and Russian Federation had relatively low ratios of physically inactive adults at 14 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Countries such as Bangladesh, Eritrea, India and Iraq registered a twenty percent or more difference in physical activity levels between men and women.

Where are physical inactivity levels highest?

The Lancet, a British medical journal, ahead of World Obesity Day in October past year, indicated the rise in obesity rates in low and middle income countries.

The report, published in the journal The Lancet Global Health, is the first and largest study to look at rates of exercise among the global population and comes ahead of a United Nations meeting at the end of September on risk factors for non-communicable diseases. People who do not meet this guideline are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers, research shows.

"We describe levels of insufficient physical activity across countries and estimate global and regional trends", read the report authored by Regina Guthold, Gretchen A Stevens, Leanne M Riley and Fiona C Bull.

"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.

Adults aren't exercising as much as they should. "While declines in occupational and domestic physical activity are inevitable, it is essential to incentivise transport and leisure-time physical activity in emerging economies through improving public and active transportation infrastructure, promoting social norms for physical activity through mass sports and school-level participation, and implementing sustainable programs at scale that could yield economic, environmental, and social co-benefits while promoting physical activity".