WHO says close to two million adults risk diseases over lack of exercise.

WHO fears for health of adults who avoid physical activity

A report from the World Health Organisation, WHO, has revealed that close to 1.8 million people risk getting sick for not engaging in enough exercises.

The communication team of WHO published the report recently.

The global body said the finding is based on a study its researchers carried out in collaboration with scholars published in The Lancet Global Health journal.
According to the report, at least 1.8 million adults in the world estimated to make up 31 percent of the world’s adults do not meet up with the recommended level of sports. The report also detailed that there is an increase of about five percent between 2010 and 2022.

In the report, the WHO regretted that data collected in 2022 revealed that there is a growing number of inactive adult. It warned that if care is not taken the percentage could increase to 35 percent by 2030.

The WHO in the report equally recommends adults to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity every week.

“Physical inactivity puts adults at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, type two diabetes, dementia and cancers such as breast and colon,” part of the report read.

Going by the report, a high rate of physical inactive adults was observed in the high-income Asia Pacific region with 48% and South Asia with 45%.

It equally raised concerns that the rate of inactivity in adults was more common among women which stood at 34% globally as compared to 29% in men. On this note, it said there is need to increase sensitisation on the need for people to engage in more physical activity.

According to the report, despite the worrying results, there are signs of improvement in some countries with more adults seeing the need to get involved in physical activities.

WHO in the report called on countries to strengthen policy implementation to promote and enable physical activity through grassroots and community sport and active recreation and transport like walking, cycling and use of public transport, among other measures.

According to the WHO Director General, DG, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the new finding highlights a lost opportunity to reduce cancer and heart disease, mental health and well-being through increased physical activity. 

“We must renew our commitment to increasing levels of physical activity and prioritizing bold action, including strengthened policies and increased funding, to reverse this worrying trend,” Dr Tedros stated.

According to the Director of Health Promotion at WHO, Dr Rüdiger Krech, physical inactivity is a silent threat to global health, contributing significantly to the burden of chronic diseases.

The medic said there is “need to find innovative ways to motivate people to be more active, considering factors like age, environment, and cultural background”. 

Going by him, actions must be taken to ensure “physical activity accessible, affordable, and enjoyable for all, we can significantly reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases and create a population that is healthier and more productive”.



This story was first published in The Guardian Post issue No:3163 of Tuesday July 9, 2024


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