Healthcare Economy

Over 1.4 Billion Adults Don't Exercise Enough

Douglas A. McIntyre

New data from the WHO show that over 1.4 billion adults worldwide are at risk for disease because they do not exercise enough. The study was posted in The Lancet Global Health and was based on data collected for 2016. The numbers show no improvement from data collected in 2001

A breakdown in the numbers shows that one in three women and one in four men do not get adequate exercise to maintain their health. The numbers are more alarming in developed countries according to the study:

Levels of insufficient physical activity are more than twice as high in high-income countries compared o low-income countries and increased by 5% in high-income countries between 2001 and 2016

The U.S. fares badly, the WHO data show:

The highest rates of insufficient activity in 2016 were found in adults in Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq where more than half of all adults were insufficiently active. Comparatively, around 40% of adults in the USA, 36% in the UK, and 14% in China were insufficiently active.


The new study is based on self-reported activity levels, including activity at work and at home, for transport, and during leisure time, in adults aged 18 years and older from 358 population-based surveys in 168 countries, including 1.9 million participants.