WHO wants people to be more active.
Almost 500 million people are at risk of developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes or other non-communicable disease between 2020 and 2030 if governments don’t take urgent action to encourage more physical activity, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned. In a report released last week, the UN agency said that the price of staying in the couch will be severe – around $27 billion every year in extra healthcare costs. The report is based on an assessment of steps taken by UN member nations to increase physical activity across all ages.
“Data from 194 countries show that overall, progress is slow and that countries need to accelerate the development and implementation of policies to increase heart rates and help prevent disease and reduce the burden on already overwhelmed health services,” the global status report on physical activity 2022 said.
It also presented some findings from across the globe related to physical activity as a policy. The report said that less than 50 per cent of countries have a national physical activity policy, of which less than 40 per cent are operational. It added that only 30 per cent of countries have national physical activity guidelines for all ages.
“While nearly all countries report a system for monitoring adult exercise, only 75 per cent of countries monitor adolescent activity, and less than 30 per cent monitor physical activity in children under 5,” said the WHO report.
The report called for making policies that encourage active and sustainable transport.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “We need more countries to scale up implementation of policies to support people to be more active through walking, cycling, sport, and other physical activity. The benefits are huge, not only for the physical and mental health of individuals, but also for societies, environments, and economies.”
An action plan has also been suggested by the WHO, which includes policies to create safer roads to encourage more active transport, and provide more programmes and opportunities for physical activity in key settings, such as childcare, schools, primary health care and the workplace.
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