And they’re all at risk of serious diseases

Globally 27 per cent of people do not take enough exercise compared with 36 per cent in Britain

About 40 percent of Japanese adults were physically inactive in 2016, above the global average of 28 percent, exposing them to risks of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia, a World Health Organization report showed Wednesday.

The new Global Action Plan on Physical Activity sets the target to reduce physical inactivity by 10 percent by 2025 and 15 percent by 2030. In 2016, around 32 percent of women and 23 percent of men - that's one in three women and one in four men - did not reach that goal.

Comparatively, around 40 percent of US adults and 36 percent of British adults got too little activity.

The BBC report quotes that in the United Kingdom alone, 40 per cent of women were found to be inactive whereas the figure was 32 per cent for men.

Researchers analysed information from 1.9 million men and women who participated in 358 population surveys.

However, changing physical characteristics of a community may not be enough: Gregory Knell, a researcher at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas, recently published a study on whether improving sidewalks might lead to more physical activity. "Such policies are particularly important in countries with rapid urbanisation, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, which contribute to the high levels of insufficient activity in Latin America and the Caribbean".

In Kuwait, an oil-flush gulf state where temperatures regularly top 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), a whopping two-thirds (67 percent) of adults weren't exercising enough.

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Rates of physical activity are largely unchanged since 2001, in some cases worsening and with large disparities between men and women, the report said.

The Ministry of Health welcomes World Health Organization (WHO) findings about worldwide physical activity trends, which reinforces key messages about the benefits of being regularly physically active.

Moderate-intensity activity includes walking and swimming, while vigorous intensity covers pursuits such as jogging and playing soccer.

"Countries will need to improve policy implementation to increase physical activity opportunities and encourage more people to be physically active", Dr. Each of the surveys asked participants about how much physical activity they did through work, household tasks, transportation and leisure time.

Women were less active than men in all regions of the world except in East and Southeast Asia.

According to Dr Regina Guthold, "Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases". During the study period, high-income Western nations saw physical inactivity rates increase from nearly 31% to nearly 37%, while rates remained stable, around 16%, in low-income countries.

Guthold said the link between the lifestyle in wealthier nations - more time indoors, longer office hours, more easily accessible high-calorie foods - and lower exercise levels was part of a "clear pattern" of poorer health coming with urbanisation.

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