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Quarter of world’s population ‘not active enough to stay healthy’

Around 1.4 billion adults are not physically active enough to stay healthy, says the research. One in three women and one in four men do not take enough exercise or move about enough, too often sitting at desks all day at work, in front of the TV in the evening and travelling by car.

The UK also has high levels of inactivity – 40% of women do not move enough compared with 32% of men. In the United States, 48% of women and 32% of men are not sufficiently active. Inactivity has got worse over the last 15 years among the more affluent western countries – rising from 31% in 2001 to 37% in 2016.

Figures released this week by Public Health England showed that four out of five out of 1.9 million people who had taken an online test had hearts that were more damaged than they should be for their age.

At the current rate, the world will miss the UN target, which is to cut inactivity levels by 10% by 2025. Over the last 15 years, they have hardly budged. In 2016, say the authors, a quarter of the world’s population was moving too little. “This puts more than 1·4 billion adults at risk of developing or exacerbating diseases linked to inactivity, and needs to be urgently addressed,” they write.

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