Dec 5, 2023

Research Spotlight: The World is sedentary

Physical activity is vital for our health and well-being. Yet, a staggering number of people worldwide aren't getting enough of it. A recent study published in the Lancet sheds light on this global concern, revealing critical insights into insufficient physical activity levels and its implications on our health.

Insufficient physical activity isn't a small issue—it's a global concern impacting billions of lives. This study's comprehensive findings emphasize the urgent need for action. From policy changes to personal choices, each step towards a more active lifestyle contributes to a healthier world for all. Let's delve into the findings and understand why physical activity matters for all of us and why at Enhance-d we are championing a “movement”.


Understanding the Study's Scope and Main Findings

The study by Guthold and colleagues gathered data from various surveys conducted across 168 countries, encompassing nearly 2 million participants. Its aim? To explore the prevalence of insufficient physical activity worldwide and identify trends across regions and income groups.

The findings were eye-opening. Over a quarter of adults worldwide—roughly 1.4 billion individuals—fell short of recommended physical activity levels. This lack of activity poses a significant risk, contributing to various health issues.

The study found that there were notable differences between men and women, with women exhibiting higher levels of insufficient activity globally. Regions such as Latin America, the Caribbean, South Asia, and high-income Western countries reported the highest levels of inactivity, while Oceania, east and southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa had relatively lower rates.

Implications for Health and Society Insufficient physical activity isn't merely about missing a workout—it has far-reaching implications. It's a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases, affecting mental health and overall quality of life. Over 1.4 billion individuals are at risk due to this inactivity “pandemic”.


Why Is This Happening?

The study also looked at the reasons behind these activity levels. In wealthier countries, changes in the type of work and transportation methods, leaning toward sedentary lifestyles, play a role. On the flip side, rapid urbanisation in developing nations affects physical activity patterns.

💡 Several barriers can hinder physical activity. Here are some of the major ones:

  1. Lack of Time: Busy schedules often make it challenging to find time for exercise amidst work, family, and other commitments.

  2. Motivation and Self-Discipline: Some struggle to stay motivated or maintain the self-discipline needed to establish a regular exercise routine.

  3. Physical Limitations or Health Issues: Certain health conditions, injuries, or physical limitations can make it difficult or unsafe to engage in certain types of physical activities.

  4. Access and Environment: Limited access to safe spaces for exercise, such as parks, gyms, or sidewalks, can be a significant barrier. Also, factors like weather, neighbourhood safety, or lack of facilities can hinder physical activity.

  5. Social and Cultural Factors: Social pressures, cultural norms, or lack of social support can influence someone's participation in physical activities.

  6. Perceived Lack of Skill or Knowledge: Some people may feel they lack the skills or knowledge to engage in certain exercises or sports, leading to avoidance.

Addressing these barriers is one of our aims at Enhance-d. We want to create accessible, inclusive, and a supportive digital environment that encourage and facilitate physical activity for all individuals living with diabetes.

Urgent Call to Action The study's conclusion is clear: current efforts to increase physical activity aren't enough to tackle this global challenge. The goal set in 2016 for a 10% reduction in insufficient physical activity by 2025 seems distant, and urgent action is needed.


What Can Be Done?

Implementing evidence-based interventions outlined in the Global Physical Activity Action Plan 2018–2030 is crucial. Initiatives promoting non-motorized transportation such as cycling and walking, encouraging leisure-time activities, and creating more opportunities for physical activity in communities are imperative.

💡 The Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018–2030 is a comprehensive initiative developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its member states to address the growing global issue of physical inactivity. This plan aims to promote and increase physical activity levels worldwide, recognizing its crucial role in preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and improving overall health and well-being.

Addressing Gender Disparities The study highlighted gender differences in physical activity levels. Women tend to be less active, often due to cultural norms and limited leisure-time opportunities. Tailored programs to encourage women's participation are essential to bridge this gap.

The Role of Policies National policies can be game-changers. Supporting walking and cycling, ensuring road safety, and creating spaces for physical activity in public places and workplaces are vital steps toward increasing overall activity levels.


The Way Forward

This study isn't just about numbers—it's about our collective well-being. It's a call for action, urging governments, communities, and individuals to prioritize physical activity for a healthier future.

Let's move, let's act, and let's strive for a future where physical activity isn't a luxury but a fundamental part of our daily lives.


💡 With our Research Spotlight Series of articles we aim to convey the scientific evidence behind the profound impact of exercise and its potential to improve health outcomes for people living with diabetes. This is among the first of a series of articles that will cover the most insightful, relevant and ground-braking scientific evidence between physical activity and diabetes management. With the hope of making science more accessible, friendly and actionable for everyone!

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©2023 by Sestante Analytics AG

Sign up now and get FREE access

Our online dashboard is free to use, as you’re helping us build the best platform for diabetes and weight management!

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Sign up for our newsletter and get updates, resources, offers and special early access to everything Enhance-d related!

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©2023 by Sestante Analytics AG

Sign up now and get FREE access

Our online dashboard is free to use, as you’re helping us build the best platform for diabetes and weight management!

Get Started ->

Stay up to date

Sign up for our newsletter and get updates, resources, offers and special early access to everything Enhance-d related!

Subscribe

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©2023 by Sestante Analytics AG