The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that about a quarter of the world’s adult population, approximately 1.4 billion people, is at risk of cardiovascular conditions, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and even cancer because of a sedentary lifestyle. As of 2016, about one in three women and one in four men across the world failed to meet recommended physical activity targets for maintaining their health, or at least 150 minutes of mild exercise or 75 minutes of strenuous activity each week.
Physical activity rates are the lowest in the Middle East
According to the study, which was carried out by WHO investigators and released in The Lancet Global Health journal, overall rates of physical activity have not seen any noticeable improvement since 2001.
The report, which demonstrates that low physical activity levels are prevalent in high-income countries compared to poorer countries, also points out that these levels rose by 5% between 2001 and 2016 in the states with the most significant Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The highest rates of a sedentary lifestyle in adults populations occurred in 2016 in areas such as Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, where over 50% of adults did not engage in enough physical activity to preserve their health.
A sedentary lifestyle increases risks of diabetes and cardiovascular conditions
“Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not decreasing worldwide and more than a quarter of all adults do not reach recommended levels of physical activity to maintain good health,” stated Regina Guthold, the study’s leading author.
A sedentary lifestyle is a leading cause of premature death around the world, according to WHO, as it boosts the risks of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular conditions, cancer, and diabetes.
With physical activity, a better muscular and cardiorespiratory health, improved bone health, increased weight management, as well as a lower risk of hypertension, heart problems, strokes, diabetes, depression and various types of cancer, can be obtained.