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Physical inactivity

500m people globally will develop preventable diseases, at a cost of US$300bn by 2030 due to lack of exercise, says WHO

October 31, 2022

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that almost 500 million people are at risk of developing preventable illnesses due to physical inactivity. The Global Status Report on Physical Activity 2022 has found that between 2020 and 2030, 500m people will develop preventable non-communicable diseases (NCD) if action is not taken.

The report is based on data from 194 countries. It looks at the reduction in physical activity across ages and abilities. WHO’s findings showed that more than 80% of boys and girls aged 11 – 17 are engaging in less than an hour of physical activity a day, with levels of inactivity often likely to continue into adulthood.

Less than half of the countries surveyed have a national physical activity policy. It is recommended that adults engage in 300 minutes of activity a week, with a reduced risk of between 20% and 30% in premature death. Whilst adult activity is monitored in most countries, only ¾ of the surveyed countries monitor teenagers.

The director general of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called for more countries to develop physical activity policies. He added:

“We need more countries to scale up implementation of policies to support people to be more active through walking, cycling, sport and other physical activity…The benefits are huge, not only for the physical and mental health of individuals but also for societies, environments, and economies. We hope countries and partners will use this report to build more active, healthier, and fairer societies for all.”


To find out more, see here.

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