A quarter of the world’s adults are not active enough

Researchers found there had been no improvement in physical activity levels since 2001

As a result, they have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and cancers.

To encourage more people to exercise, World Health Organization launched a Let's Be Active campaign with a goal of reducing physical inactivity 10 percent by 2025 and 15 percent by 2030. Inactivity has got worse over the last 15 years among the more affluent western countries - rising from 31% in 2001 to 37% in 2016. A total of 43.9 per cent of women in India have been unable to meet the standard physical activity quota while 24.7 per cent of men are inactive. Countries with the highest rates of inactivity were Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq - where more than half of all adults were insufficiently active in 2016.

The study tracked activity levels of 1.9 million people in 168 countries across the world during 2016. Their findings were published Tuesday in The Lancet Global Health journal.

Dr Guthold added: "Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases". In comparison, east and southeast Asia recorded the largest decrease in insufficient activity, from 26 percent in 2001 to 17 percent in 2016, which was largely influenced by uptake of physical activity in China. In the USA, approximately 40 percent of adults were insufficiently active, which was greater than 36 percent in the United Kingdom and just 14 percent in China.

"With our partners, we're working to get the nation moving more through supporting social and physical environments that foster healthier, active lifestyles and through our physical activity work".

"In these settings, women are often expected to be at home, take care of the children, manage the household and so sometimes don't always have time to exercise", said Guthold.

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

Women still lag behind men in almost every region of the world, with the gender exercise gap highest in Bangladesh, Eritrea, India, Iraq and the Philippines, the study found. People from all ages should be provided with opportunities to become more physically active daily and should be made aware of the benefits write the authors.

"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", Bull said.

The WHO urged governments to implement policies to address the issue, such as improved provision of cycling and walking infrastructure and creating more opportunities for physical activity in public open spaces and parks, in workplaces and in other local community settings. As a next step the researchers would work on assessing the levels of activities among the children and youth.

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