New data published in The Lancet Global Health today show that more than one in four adults globally (28% or 1.4 billion people) are physically inactive. However this can be as high as one in three adults inactive in some counties.
The paper, authored by four World Health Organization experts, reports data that update 2008 estimates on levels of activity and, for the first time, reports trend analyses showing that overall, the global level of inactivity in adults remains largely unchanged since 2001.
Women were less active than men, with an over 8% difference at the global level (32% men vs 23%, women). High income countries are more inactive (37%) compared with middle income (26%) and low income countries (16%).
These data show the need for all countries to increase the priority given to national and sub-national actions to provide the environments that support physical activity and increase the opportunities for people of all ages and abilities, to be active every day.
The new Global Action Plan on Physical Activity sets the target to reduce physical inactivity by 10% by 2025 and 15% by 2030.
Regular physical inactivity increases peoples risk of poor health, including cardiovascular disease, several types of cancer and diabetes, falls, as well as mental health conditions. Publication of levels of participation in children and young people are forthcoming.