31% of adults worldwide are at risk of cardiovascular disease due to lack of exercise.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a study of physical activity around the world in The Lancet Global Health. The work, conducted with an international team of researchers, revealed an alarming trend: Physical inactivity has increased among adults about five percentage points between 2010 and 2022, affecting approximately 1.8 billion people.

If this trend continues, it is predicted that Inactivity rates could reach 35% by 2030. This means the world will not meet the global physical inactivity target by then. Lack of exercise puts adults at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers such as breast and colon cancer. WHO recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, or an equivalent combination of both.

“These new findings highlight a missed opportunity to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and improve mental well-being by increasing physical activity,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We must reaffirm our commitment increase your level of physical activity and prioritize bold action, including stronger policies and increased funding, to reverse this alarming trend.”

The highest rates of physical inactivity were observed in the region Asia Pacific (48%) and South Asia (45%)In contrast, in high-income Western countries the percentage was lower, ranging from 28% to 14%, with Oceania being the region with the lowest percentage.

Gender and age differences

Physical activity is more common among women (34%) compared to men (29%), with differences of up to 20 percentage points in some countries. In addition, people over 60 are less active than other adults, highlighting the need to promote physical activity among this population group.

“Physical passivity is silent threat to global health, “contributing significantly to the burden of chronic diseases,” said Rüdiger Krech, Director of Health Promotion at WHO. “We need to find innovative ways to motivate people to be more active, taking into account factors such as age, environment and cultural context.”

Krech added that “by making physical activity accessible, affordable and enjoyable for everyone, we can significantly reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases and create healthier and more productive populations.

Collective efforts

Despite the worrying results, there are some signs of improvement. The study found that nearly half of the world’s countries have made progress over the past decade. Twenty-two countries are on track to meet the global target. reduce downtime by 15% by 2030, if its trend continues at the same rate.

Given these results, WHO calls on countries to strengthen implementation policy that promote and facilitate physical activity. Some of the measures proposed include promoting sports and active transport, such as walking, cycling or using public transport.

“Promoting physical activity goes beyond individual lifestyle choices – it requires a whole-of-community approach and creating environments that make it easier and safer for everyone to be more active,” said Fiona Bull, Head of Health and Fitness. WHO Physical activity. He also emphasized the importance of people having fun while exercising.

They are necessary collective efforts between government and non-government stakeholders, and increasing investment in innovative approaches to reach less active people and reduce inequalities in access to physical activity.

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