The world’s leading health agency has called for urgent action on physical inactivity with a new report finding that a quarter of all adults worldwide fail to get enough exercise.
A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1.4 billion people are at risk of developing or exacerbating disease linked to physical inactivity. What’s worse is that this figure has barely improved since 2001.
The research looked at 168 countries and 1.9 million participants from 2001 to 2016 and found that high income countries such as the UK and USA were among the least active in the world.
The prevalence of insufficient physical activity in high-income countries was revealed to be more than double the prevalence in low-income countries in 2016.
In Australia, inactivity levels were 30% over all with one in three people failing to get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week.
Insufficient physical activity is the leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and some cancers.
Alarmingly, across all regions (apart from some areas in east and south east Asia), women were less active than men.
Co-author Dr Fiona Bull from WHO told the BBC: "Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women's access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable."
The report flagged that if current trends continue, the 2025 global physical activity target (a 10% relative reduction in insufficient physical activity) will not be met.
In response, the WHO have called for the prioritization of national policies and infrastructure that encourage non-motorised transport such as walking and cycling to combat inactivity.
Through our advocacy, behaviour change programs and events, Bicycle Network works hard to make it easier for more people to get active through bike riding.
It's time to ride to work
Riding to work is one of the easiest and most time-efficient ways to fit exercise into a daily routine. By swapping the car, train or bus for a bike, you can get your recommended daily exercise without having to spend extra time or money at the gym.
For your health and happiness, join the commuter revolution now and get pedalling with us on National Ride2Work Day.
Register your commitment to National Ride2Work Day on Wednesday 18 October. Register now.
Your registration helps us show governments across Australia that people do ride bikes and many more will if we give them the right conditions.