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As a result, they faced an increased risk of heart and artery disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.

The research also found that females in Australia are doing less physical activity than males, with 33.6 percent of women not getting enough exercise compared to 27 percent of men.

According to the new Global Action Plan on Physical Activity target, physical inactivity is to be reduced by 10 percent by 2025 and by 15 percent by 2030, write the researchers.

These included activity at work, home, during leisure time and for transport.

In 2016, around one in three women and one in four men worldwide were not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity to stay healthy - at least 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

Moreover, levels of insufficient physical activity are more than twice as great in high-income countries as compared to that of low-income nations, with a five per cent increase in higher income countries between 2001 and 2016.

Shockingly, nearly 40 percent of Irish women didn't get enough physical activity in 2016. The highest were 67 percent in Kuwait, 53 percent in American Samoa, 53 percent in Saudi Arabia and 52 percent in Iraq.

The study was only based on activity levels that were self-reported by 1.9 million men and women from 358 population surveys. "We describe levels of insufficient physical activity across countries and estimate global and regional trends", read the report authored by Regina Guthold, Gretchen A Stevens, Leanne M Riley and Fiona C Bull. "A large number of youth are jobless, the country is mired in crisis related to terrorism, and inflation is high... how can people manage to devote themselves to healthy activities in such times?"

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The high inactivity in wealthier countries can be explained with the fact that many people lead increasingly stationary lives, in which occupations and recreational activities have become more sedentary, transport has become motorized, and the general use of technology has risen.

"Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)", said Dr Guthold.

The BBC report quotes that in the United Kingdom alone, 40 per cent of women were found to be inactive whereas the figure was 32 per cent for men.

4 out of 10 Irish women aren't getting enough exercise.

To encourage more people to exercise, World Health Organization launched a Let's Be Active campaign with a goal of reducing physical inactivity 10 percent by 2025 and 15 percent by 2030.

Adjunct Associate Professor Benedict Tan, who is chairman of Exercise Is Medicine Singapore - a movement to make exercise part of healthcare - said that there are various barriers that stop sedentary adults from becoming physically active.

"Policies to increase population levels of physical activity need to be prioritised and scaled up urgently", it added.


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