Experts call for urgent action to improve physical activity worldwide
Not enough progress has been made to address physical inactivity worldwide, with adolescents and people living with disabilities (PLWD) among the least likely populations to have the support needed to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s physical activity guidelines. Global efforts to improve physical activity have stalled, with overall deaths caused by physical activity remaining at more than 5 million people per year.
Physical inactivity is linked to an increased risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers and costs at least $54 billion per year in direct health care costs of which $31 billion is paid by the public sector. The slow progress to improve physical activity worldwide has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns likely associated with overall less physical activity worldwide. In addition, inactive people and those with NCDs are far more likely to be hospitalised or die if they develop COVID-19.
These findings come from a new three-paper Series published in The Lancet and launched ahead of the postponed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The authors call for immediate and urgent action to prioritise research and public health measures to improve physical activity worldwide, and ensure physical activity is built into everyday lives.