If current trends continue, the global target of reducing sedentary lifestyle by 10% by 2025 will not be met, the scientists said.
Researchers found there had been no improvement in physical activity levels since 2001, despite numerous public health initiatives extolling the benefits of exercise. Among their results, they found a large disparity between the amount of inactivity among high-income countries (37 percent) compared to low-income countries (16 percent).
This is compared to global figures in 2016 with indicates that 27.5 percent of the world population aren't getting enough physical activity.
The authors arrived at these findings after pooling data from 358 population-based surveys across 168 countries, representing some 1.9 million people.
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Guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services suggest adults participate in some type of muscle strengthening activity at least twice a week, along with moderate aerobic exercise for 150 minutes per week or 75 minutes per week if vigorously working out.
More than 1.4 billion adults are putting themselves at heightened risk of deadly diseases by not getting enough exercise, doctors are warning, with global activity levels virtually unchanged in almost two decades. Yet among the global population, one in three women (32 percent) and one in four men (23 percent) fail to meet these requirements. Many of these changes are described in the WHO's new Global Action Plan on Physical Activity.
Rates of physical activity are largely unchanged since 2001, in some cases worsening and with large disparities between men and women, the report said.
By becoming more active, it says, people can improve muscular and cardio-respiratory fitness, better bone health, weight control and reduced risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and various types of cancer.
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The Lancet, a British medical journal, ahead of World Obesity Day in October a year ago, indicated the rise in obesity rates in low and middle income countries.
The transition toward more sedentary occupations and motorized transportation in richer countries could help explain the higher levels of inactivity, researchers said.
While declines in occupational and domestic physical activity are inevitable as countries prosper and use of technology increases, the study advises that governments provide and maintain infrastructure that promotes increased walking and cycling for transport as well as active sports and recreation. "This puts more than 1·4 billion adults at risk of developing or exacerbating diseases linked to inactivity, and needs to be urgently addressed", they write. Publication of levels of participation in children and young people are forthcoming.
"Technological advancement has made our life more convenient but also less active".
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