Gymnasiums and fitness centers have established their presence strongly in almost every corner of the road alongside eat outs. Every other day we notice parks and playgrounds brimming with health-conscious people engaged seriously in a brisk walk, exercises or a session of yoga with their group members. Still, 1 in 4 adults worldwide remain inactive globally. This amounts to almost 28% of the global population or a figure close to 1.4 billion individuals which even comes across as 1 in 3 adults being inactive in a selected few countries, according to World Health Organization. Despite improved awareness regarding the benefits of fitness among people, global inactivity levels remain unchanged since 2001.
The new study by WHO shows that 1 in 4 four people are inactive which puts them at an increased risk of health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases and also at a greater risk of disrupted mental health and reduced quality of life. The study group analyzed 358 different population surveys in 168 countries and came up with few of the most shocking revelations:
It is natural that wealthier countries lean towards the inactivity graph as people there use motor transport for commuting, take up sedentary jobs for salary and make use of every luxury available to make their lives as comfortable as possible. Whereas, in low-income countries people rely mostly on public transport for commuting, walk to work, do most of the chores by themselves using their physical stamina and work hard for a decent living. Sedentary jobs are not the way people in these countries earn. There are various other physically exerting jobs that keep them fit and healthy.
Heading Towards Darkness
If this is going to be the state of the world for the next couple of years, fulfilling WHO’s target of reducing global inactivity by 10% would be missed. On the positive note, not all countries are witnessing diminishing physical activity rates unlike in the case of health conditions and diseases. Still, quarter of the adult population globally suffers from insufficient physical activity rates. Despite repeated studies and research data available on the benefits of exercising and a healthy diet (one study says that exercise, a healthy diet and a couple of other factors can extend a person’s lifespan by 10 years or more), what curbs people from physical activity-laziness, lack of time or ignorance? It can be either of these or a combination of all! Sadly, we don’t forget to brush our teeth or sleep due to lack of time. This again shows how people prioritize things. Physical activity mostly does not come in the priority list of most people. If sticking to your diet or lack of motivation to stay active is your problem, get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com who can help you overcome inactivity in the right way.
Also, we need to address the reason behind the inequal distribution of physical activity levels between men and women to try achieving the 2025 WHO target. It’s the duty of every nation to ensure that their women are given opportunities that are safe, accessible and justifiable.
While economic development paved way for easy commuting options and more desk jobs, governments worldwide must now take steps to help people to be more active by forming separate tracks for cyclists alongside normal traffic roads, make it easier for walkers and foremost, make people aware of the side effects of an inactive lifestyle. Some countries have started levying extra taxes for obese people to bring down rocketing obesity rates and some restaurants too make people pay for the unused food! Slowly, by incorporating effective changes we can witness a better world filled with healthier people.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.