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Four in ten British women do not do enough exercise to stay healthy

Four in ten British women do not do enough exercise to stay healthy

Four in ten British women do not do enough exercise to stay healthy warns the World Health Organisation

  • Britons rank 123rd out of 168 countries for the amount of weekly exercise taken
  • Four out of ten women are putting their health at risk due to a lack of exercise
  • The World Health Organisation say adults need 150 minutes of exercise a week
  • The exercise can take the form of brisk walking or going for a bicycle ride  

Four in ten British women are putting their health at risk by failing to do enough exercise, a major report has revealed.

The UK is 123rd out of 168 countries in a league table of physical activity, with 36 per cent of British adults failing to hit exercise targets. That compares to the global average of 27 per cent.

Forty per cent of women and 32 per cent of men in the UK fail to do enough physical activity to stay healthy, according to the World Health Organisation. Experts last night described the figures as a ‘damning indictment’ of the nation’s health.

Four in ten British women do not do enough exercise a week according to the World Health Organisation who recommend adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week

The WHO says people need at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, such as cycling or brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, like running or team sports. More British adults fail to hit these targets than people in Africa, South America and most of Asia. But they are also less active than in comparable Western nations such as France, Spain, Australia and Canada.

Experts believe women around the world tend to be more inactive than men because they participate in fewer sports and leisure activities – and when they do exercise they do it at a lower intensity.

The US is even more inactive than the UK, with 40 per cent of adults not doing enough exercise, while the figure for Italy is 41 per cent. Globally, 32 per cent of women and 23 per cent of men fail to hit the activity target.

Experts are worried that a growing crisis in inactive lifestyles is putting millions of Britons at risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Steven Ward, of the UK Active organisation, said: ‘These figures are a damning indictment of our nation’s health, with the UK lagging behind much of the rest of the world for activity levels. Physical inactivity is the cause of 20,000 premature deaths in the UK each year and costs our economy an estimated £37billion. This should be seen as a national disgrace.

Steven Ward of UK Active said the figures were a damning indictment of the nation’s health 

‘The Government must make physical activity a top-tier health priority…or risk facing an unsustainable burden on both the NHS and social care.’

The figures come after a Public Health England report, published yesterday, found 78 per cent of over-30s have hearts that are more damaged than they should be for their age, putting them at greater risk of early death.

Experts are particularly worried about inactive middle-aged people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who continuously put their busy lives ahead of the needs of their health. Some 67 per cent of men and 57 per cent of women in Britain are overweight – well above the global average. Scientists wrote in the WHO report: ‘Our analysis, including data from nearly 2million participants, shows that globally in 2016 more than a quarter of all adults were not getting enough physical activity.

‘This puts more than 1.4billion adults at risk of developing or exacerbating diseases linked to inactivity, and needs to be urgently addressed.’ In Uganda, the most active country, just 5 per cent of adults failed to hit activity targets. In Kuwait, the least active, 67 per cent did too little exercise.

The report, published in the Lancet medical journal, called for ‘more opportunities for safe and accessible leisure-time activity to women in order to increase their overall levels of activity’. 

  • Regular trips to the gym do not trigger an early menopause, a study has found.

There is no link between physical activity levels and infertility, according to the University of Massachusetts study of 107,000 women in the US. Previous research had claimed women who exercise a lot are more likely to go through the change of life in their 40s or earlier.


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