Lack of exercise: 1.4bn at risk of physical, mental illness

Lack of exercise: 1.4bn at risk of physical, mental illness

Lack of exercise: 1.4bn at risk of physical, mental illness

Finland, where only 17 per cent of people are not active enough, is the most energetic nation in the West.

Most countries do have policies to tackle the issue of physical inactivity but very few have demonstrated impact. Researchers found little progress in improving physical activity levels between 2001 and 2016 despite a World Health Organization goal of a 10 percent reduction by 2025. "A large number of youth are jobless, the country is mired in crisis related to terrorism, and inflation is high... how can people manage to devote themselves to healthy activities in such times?"

Researchers analysed data from 358 surveys across 168 countries, including 1.9 million participants. There's a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. The prevalence for low physical activity levels was more than double in high-income countries than in low-income countries.

In Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, more than half of all adults have insufficient physical activity.

"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.

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

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"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".

There was a significant gender gap worldwide. Yet among the global population, one in three women (32 percent) and one in four men (23 percent) fail to meet these requirements. Comparatively, around 40% of adults in the US, 36% in the United Kingdom, and 14% in China were insufficiently active.

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

In addition to the multiple health benefits of physical activity, societies that are more active can generate additional returns on investment including a reduced use of fossil fuels, cleaner air and less congested, safer roads.

Across the world Australia ranked 97-out-of-168 countries involved in the study.

"Policies to increase population levels of physical activity need to be prioritised and scaled up urgently", it added.

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Aerobic activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes in duration.

Breaking down the data, it was also found that Aussie females (33.6 per cent) not getting enough exercise compared to males (27 per cent).

It's important that governments provide infrastructure that promotes more walking and bicycling to work and active sports and recreation, they noted. "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".

Ding considers the environment as one of the biggest barriers for people.

A new study suggests the global trend of inadequate physical activity levels is getting worse, with no real improvements since 2001.

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