More than a fourth of world’s population are physically inactive and prone to ill health, says Lancet
Posted on September 5th, 2018

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

London, September 5: (BDNews24): The data published in The Lancet on Wednesday showed that more than one in four adults globally (28 percent or 1.4 billion people) are physically inactive. This can be, however, as high as one in three adults inactive in some counties.

Insufficient physical activity is a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and has a negative effect on mental health and quality of life, the report authored by four WHO experts says.

More than a fourth of world’s population are physically inactive and prone to ill health, says Lancet

They report data that update 2008 estimates on levels of activity and, for the first time, report trend analyses showing that overall, the global level of inactivity in adults remains largely unchanged since 2001.

In 159 of 168 countries, the prevalence of insufficient physical activity was lower in men than in women, with a difference of at least 10 percentage points in 65 countries, and a difference of more than 20 percentage points in nine countries, including Bangladesh.

The prevalence was 20 percent to 29.9 percent among men in Bangladesh while 30 percent to 39.9 percent in women.

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 percent by 2025 and 15 percent by 2030. With the latest report, The Lancet says the target is not on track.

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.

In Bangladesh, non-communicable diseases, according to a WHO report in 2014, account for 59 percent of total deaths. Of these, cardiovascular diseases cause the highest 17 percent deaths followed by chronic lung diseases at 11 percent and cancer 10 percent.

The NCD Alliance in last October warned that those diseases are affecting the people of the Asian region including Bangladesh younger than the rest of the world.

The Lancet, a British medical journal, ahead of World Obesity Day in October last year, indicated the rise in obesity rates in low and middle income countries.

In Bangladesh, it said, obesity among boys aged 5 to 19 years was found at 3 percent in 2016 which was only 0.03 percent in 1975.

Among girls, the rate jumped to 2.3 percent from almost nil four decades ago at the same age group.

The global school-based health survey in 2014 showed that 59 percent of Bangladesh adolescents are insufficiently active” and 79 percent.

The government has taken up policies to combat non-communicable diseases, but there is no separate lane for bicycling or proper pavements for walking.

One way to explain sex differences in activity is to assess male and female participation in different domains of activity (activity at work or in the household, for transport, and during leisure time), and at different intensities (moderate and vigorous),” the authors wrote.

Previous research indicates that women tend to do less leisure-time activity, and lower-intensity activity than do men. Offering more opportunities for safe and accessible leisure-time activity to women in order to increase their overall levels of activity would therefore help close the gender gap and achieve the 2025 global physical activity target.”

Besides, they said cultural norms, traditional roles, or lack of social and community support might lead to reduced participation in physical activity among girls and women.

Understanding and addressing these barriers is needed to plan and deliver culturally sensitive actions to support behaviour change.”

But the data show that progress towards the global target set by WHO member states to reduce physical inactivity by 10 percent by 2025 has been too slow and is not on track.

Levels of insufficient physical activity are particularly high and still rising in high-income countries, and worldwide, women are less active than are men.”

The authors called for a significant increase in national action is urgently needed in most countries to scale-up implementation of effective policies.

They acknowledged new policies in global and national level, but said implementation will require bold leadership and full engagement” across sectors to change the current approach.

Collaboration across sectors could generate significant returns, because policies that support increasing physical activity can provide other benefits to health, local economies, community wellbeing, and environmental sustainability, and contribute towards achieving many of the 2030 SDGs,” The Lancet concluded.

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