Nearly 1.8 billion adults at risk of disease from not doing enough physical activity « Khabarhub
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Nearly 1.8 billion adults at risk of disease from not doing enough physical activity


30 June 2024  

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KATHMANDU: New data reveals a concerning trend in physical inactivity among adults worldwide, with nearly one third (31%)—approximately 1.8 billion people—not meeting the recommended levels of physical activity in 2022.

This represents an increase of about 5 percentage points since 2010, indicating a growing global issue.

If the current trend continues, inactivity levels are projected to rise to 35% by 2030, putting the world off track from meeting the global target to reduce physical inactivity by that year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week.

Insufficient physical activity is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and cancers such as breast and colon cancer.

The study, conducted by WHO researchers and academic colleagues, was published in The Lancet Global Health journal.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasized the missed opportunities for improving health through physical activity, stating, “These new findings highlight a lost opportunity to reduce cancer and heart disease, and improve mental health and well-being through increased physical activity. We must renew our commitment to increasing levels of physical activity and prioritizing bold action, including strengthened policies and increased funding, to reverse this worrying trend.”

The highest rates of physical inactivity were observed in the high-income Asia Pacific region (48%) and South Asia (45%), with other regions ranging from 28% in high-income Western countries to 14% in Oceania.

Disparities in physical inactivity persist between genders and age groups, with women being more inactive than men (34% vs. 29%), and people over 60 being less active than younger adults.

Dr. Rüdiger Krech, Director of Health Promotion at WHO, called physical inactivity a “silent threat to global health,” highlighting its significant contribution to chronic diseases.

He stressed the need for innovative approaches to motivate people to be more active, considering factors like age, environment, and cultural background.

Despite these concerns, there are signs of improvement in some countries.

The study identified that almost half of the world’s countries have made progress over the past decade, with 22 countries on track to meet the global target of reducing inactivity by 15% by 2030 if current trends continue.

In response to these findings, WHO is urging countries to strengthen policy implementation to promote physical activity through grassroots and community sports, active recreation, and transport (walking, cycling, and public transport), among other measures.

Dr. Fiona Bull, Head of the WHO Unit for Physical Activity, stated, “Promoting physical activity goes beyond individual lifestyle choices. It requires a whole-of-society approach and creating environments that make it easier and safer for everyone to be more active in ways they enjoy.”

The WHO emphasizes the importance of partnerships between government and non-governmental stakeholders and increased investments in innovative approaches to reach the least active people and reduce inequalities in access to physical activity-promoting measures.

Publish Date : 30 June 2024 12:17 PM

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