WHO: Nearly 1.8 billion people at risk due to inactivity

World Wednesday 26/June/2024 15:08 PM
By: DW
WHO: Nearly 1.8 billion people at risk due to inactivity

Geneva: Nearly 1.8 billion adults are at risk of cancer, stroke, dementia and diabetes due to insufficient exercise, according to a new report released on Wednesday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said physical inactivity has increased globally by five percentage points from 2010 to 2022, yet around 31% of adults still don't meet exercise guidelines.

The study, published in The Lancet Global Health journal, pointed out that 34% of women and 29% of men are inactive.

If current trends continue, 35% of people will be inactive by 2030, the report said.

"Physical inactivity is a silent threat to global health, contributing significantly to the burden of chronic diseases," said Ruediger Krech, director of the WHO's health promotion department.

"Unfortunately the world is not going in the right direction."

Krech said the risk of non-communicable diseases can be reduced "by making physical activity accessible, affordable, and enjoyable."

According to the WHO, "Physical activity refers to all movement including during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person's work or domestic activities."

The WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly.

While moderate everyday activity includes very brisk walking or heavy cleaning such as washing windows or mopping, vigorous activities include hiking, jogging, and shoveling.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, emphasized that the new findings underscore a missed opportunity to reduce cancer, heart disease, and enhance mental well-being through increased physical activity.

"We must renew our commitments to increasing levels of physical activity and prioritize bold action, including strengthened policies and increased funding, to reverse this worrying trend."

High-income countries are slightly reducing inactivity rates but are still off track, the report said.