Health education and promotion | Physical activity

Physical activity


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Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for noncommunicable disease worldwide and is estimated to cause between 3.2 and 5 million deaths globally per year. Globally, physical inactivity is estimated to cause around 27% of diabetes, 30% of ischaemic heart disease and 21%–25% of breast and colon cancer. Physical activity is also fundamental in achieving energy balance and weight control.

Recent estimates show that approximately 31% of the world's population does not undertake the recommended amount of physical activity to gain protective health benefits. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, the available data from eight countries show levels of inactivity range from about 30% to as high as 70%. Of concern, less than half of the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region have systematic monitoring of levels of physical activity in adults and children and very few countries have commenced any comprehensive action aimed at increasing levels of activity through sports, recreation, and cycling and walking.