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Global Prevalence of Insufficient Activity 27.5 Percent

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19, 2018 -- In 2016 the age-standardized prevalence of insufficient physical activity was 27.5 percent, according to a study published in the October issue of The Lancet Global Health.

Regina Guthold, Ph.D., from the World Health Organization in Geneva, and colleagues pooled data from 358 surveys across 168 countries, with 1.9 million participants, to examine the prevalence of insufficient physical activity.

The researchers found that in 2016 the global age-standardized prevalence of insufficient physical activity was 27.5 percent, which differed more than 8 percent between men and women (23.4 and 31.7 percent, respectively). Levels of insufficient activity were stable between 2001 and 2016 (28.5 percent in 2001; change not significant). In 2016, the highest levels were in women in Latin American and the Caribbean, south Asia, and high-income Western countries (43.7, 43.0, and 42.3 percent, respectively); the lowest levels were seen in men from Oceania, east and southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa (12.3, 17.6, and 17.9 percent, respectively). In 2016 the prevalence was more than twice as high in high- versus low-income countries (36.8 versus 16.2 percent); over time, insufficient activity increased in high-income countries (31.6 percent in 2001 to 36.8 percent in 2016).

"If current trends continue, the 2025 global physical activity target (a 10 percent relative reduction in insufficient physical activity) will not be met," the authors write. "Policies to increase population levels of physical activity need to be prioritized and scaled up urgently."

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Posted: September 2018

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