Abstract

It is true that Covid pandemic has open ears and eyes for people to take their health more seriously; hence physical activity is now considered of utmost importance. Yet many people around the globe do not meet WHO's recommended levels of physical activity. This abstract is based on WHO's recent document: Global Action Report on Physical Activity 2018-2030 policy based on Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030 (GAPPA) and recommendations towards meeting a global target of 15% reduction in population levels of physical inactivity by 2030. It is the first report on physical activity providing the status, problems and progress from a global perspective (194 WHO Member States).

Introduction

Where on the one hand our lives have more inclination towards sedentary lifestyle, physical inactivity is becoming a leading public health issue globally. Around 70% of health care expenditure on treating illness from physical inactivity comes from high income countries. Previous estimates of 2016 show that the global cost (health care expenditure and productivity losses) of physical inactivity was INT$ 67.5 billion annually.  (World Health Organization , 2022)

Physical inactivity is also an important risk factor for the growing global burden of Non - Communicable Diseases. It has been projected that almost 500 million preventable NCDs death will occur between 2020 and 2030 (mostly in the lower middle income countries)  NCDs not only affects health, but there is also a huge economic burden resulting from it; approximately US$ 300 billion.  (World Health Organization , 2022)

Image 2: Percentage of NCDs preventable cases by country-income level, 2020-2030, source: WHO

Physical Activity and health & well being

People who do meet the recommended levels of physical activity have 20-30% of reduced risk of premature death. Also, 7-8% of all cases of Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) , 5% of type-2 diabetes could be prevented, if one is more physically active. Physical activity can be pursued in a number of ways, such as walking, cycling, sports and participating in active recreational activities, etc.

Image 1: WHO recommended levels of physical activity for various age groups, Source: WHO

What are the GAPPA policy Areas?

To increase the levels of physical activity, GAPPA recommends four key policy areas, namely, "active societies", "active environment", "active people", and "active systems". Countries including India are being encouraged to work in the priority areas and ask for a sincere contribution from various sectors of health, sports, transport and urban planning. Globally, on one hand there are mass campaigns, programs are being held (under 4 pillars/ of GAPPA) to promote activities, areas where there is a lack of data or work (indicators) are as follows: increase access to safe open spaces and sports , reviewing building to encourage activity in and around buildings, whole of school approach to ensure quality physical education, increase in opportunity for physical activity for females, older adults and other marginalized populations, research and development including the use of digital technologies, etc.

Brief Physical Activity Profile India, 2022

In India, there are 66% deaths due to NCDs highest from Cardiovascular Diseases. Level of Physical inactivity  among adolescents aged 11-17 is 72% in males and 76% in females. Physical inactivity among adults aged 18 years or above is 25%  in males and 44% in females. Physical inactivity in elderly aged 70 years or above is 38% in males and 60% in  females.

There is also a very high direct healthcare costs attributable to NCDs and mental health associated with physical inactivity amounting to US$ 3,218,129,877 per year. (Physical Activity Profile India, 2022)

Report suggest that India falls right on many indicators but as India has a huge population and growing NCD burden, it is crucial to safeguard and invest more in the key areas of GAPPA. The indicators where India stand weak are, "National Policy on Walking and Cycling, National Surveillance of physical activity specially in children, National Guidelines on Physical Activity for children under 5 years. There is also lesser work or data when it comes to separate street designs for walking or cycling infrastructure, cycling crossings, etc. (Physical Activity Profile India, 2022)

Comparison of 11 WHO South-east Asian Countries and their physical inactivity levels:

Bangladesh

Deaths due to NCDs - 70%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Male - 63 and Female 69

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) Male 16 and Female 40

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) Male 19 and Female 46

Bhutan

Deaths due to NCDs - 73%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Male - 83 and Female 85

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) Male 18 and Female 30

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) Male 18 and Female 37

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Deaths due to NCDs - 80%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Data not available

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) - Data not available

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) - Data not available

India

Deaths due to NCDs - 66%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Male - 72 and Female 76

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) Male 25 and Female 44

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) Male 38 and Female 60

Indonesia

Deaths due to NCDs - 76%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Male - 85 and Female 87

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) Male 24 and Female 22

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) Male 36 and Female 34

Maldives

Deaths due to NCDs - 85%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Male - 78 and Female 86

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) Male 26 and Female 35

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) Male 39 and Female 51

Myanmar

Deaths due to NCDs - 71%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Male - 84 and Female 90

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) Male 8 and Female 13

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) Male 14 and Female 22

Nepal

Deaths due to NCDs - 66%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Male - 82 and Female 85

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) Male 12 and Female 15

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) Male 13 and Female 15

Sri Lanka

Deaths due to NCDs - 83%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Male - 82 and Female 89

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) Male 20 and Female 37

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) Male 32 and Female 53

Thailand

Deaths due to NCDs - 77%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Male - 70 and Female 85

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) Male 22 and Female 27

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) Male 34 and Female 42

Timor - Leste

Deaths due to NCDs - 53%

Physical inactivity in Adolescents, aged 11 -17 (%) - Male - 86 and Female 93

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 18 years and above (%) Male 10 and Female 26

Physical inactivity in Adults, aged 70 years and years (%) Male 17 and Female 39

According to the data above, Maldives has the highest number of NCDs related deaths (85%). Timor-Leste on the other hand has the lowest NCD mortality of 53%. Females in all age groups tend to be more physically inactive. Countries like Myanmar and Nepal comparatively have a less percentage of physically inactive Adults (both in category of 18 + and 70 +). Physical inactivity in adolescents is high in almost every country.

Conclusion

In the wake of GAPPA's status report on physical activity it is not only important to remember where we stand in inculcating the value of physical activity in our daily lives, it is also important to strengthen stakeholders and government leadership. More concerns are towards children and to take them out of their virtual worlds. Growing obesity in children and resulting diseases specially NCDs could be prevented if there is a modest and sincere action plan on physical activities.

References:

Global status report on physical activity 2022. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2022. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO

Physical Activity Profile 2022, Bangladesh 194 country profils no page numbers.pdf (who.int)

Physical Activity Profile 2022, Bhutan 194 country profils no page numbers.pdf (who.int)

Physical Activity Profile 2022, Democratic People's Republic of Korea 194 country profils no page numbers.pdf (who.int)

Physical Activity Profile 2022, India 194 country profils no page numbers.pdf (who.int)

Physical Activity Profile 2022, Indonesia 194 country profils no page numbers.pdf (who.int)

Physical Activity Profile 2022, Maldives 194 country profils no page numbers.pdf (who.int)

Physical Activity Profile 2022, Myanmar 194 country profils no page numbers.pdf (who.int)

Physical Activity Profile 2022, Nepal 194 country profils no page numbers.pdf (who.int)

Physical Activity Profile 2022, Sri Lanka 194 country profiles no page numbers.pdf (who.int)

Physical Activity Profile 2022, Thailand 194 country profiles no page numbers.pdf (who.int)

Physical Activity Profile 2022, Timor-Leste 194 country profiles no page numbers.pdf (who.int)