Oct 19 (Business Standard) – Between 2020 and 2030, around 500 million people will develop heart disease, obesity, diabetes or other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) due to physical inactivity. It will cost around $27 billion per annum to the countries globally, a new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed.
The ‘Global Status Report on Physical Activity 2022’ study was conducted in 194 countries, aimed at measuring the extent to which the governments are implementing WHO’s efforts to increase physical activity.
The economic burden of physical inactivity is expected to be significant. The report added that the cost of treating new cases of preventable non-communicable diseases (NCDs) will reach nearly $300 billion by 2030, costing around $27 billion annually.
“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 individuals’ physical and mental health, but also for societies, environments, and economies…,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said.
On January 21, 2019, WHO released its “Global Action Plan on Physical Activity”. It sought to reduce the global prevalence of physical inactivity in adolescents and adults by 15 per cent by 2030. It provided 20 policy recommendations to reduce inactivity, like creating safer roads to encourage more active transport and providing more programmes and opportunities for physical activity in key settings.
However, the latest report showed that much more needs to be done. Just over 40 per cent of countries have road design standards that make walking and cycling safer.
Out of 194 countries, less than 50 per cent have a national physical activity policy. Out of these, less than 40 per cent are operational.
However, among the most glaring problems reported by WHO was the presence of significant gaps in global data to track progress on important policy actions.
“It can be a vicious circle, no indicator and no data leads to no tracking and no accountability, and then too often, to no policy and no investment. What gets measured gets done, and we have some way to go to comprehensively and robustly track national actions on physical activity,” said Fiona Bull, head of the WHO Physical Activity Unit.
WHO, through the report, asked the governments to prioritise physical activity and its integration with the policies.
“We hope countries and partners will use this report to build more active, healthier, and fairer societies for all,” Ghebreyesus said.