Global physical activity levels: Surveillance progress, pitfalls, and prospects

Pedro C. Hallal, Lars Bo Andersen, Fiona C. Bull, Regina Guthold, William Haskell, Ulf Ekelund, Jasem R. Alkandari, Adrian E. Bauman, Steven N. Blair, Ross C. Brownson, Cora L. Craig, Shifalika Goenka, Gregory W. Heath, Shigeru Inoue, Sonja Kahlmeier, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Harold W. Kohl, Estelle Victoria Lambert, I. Min Lee, Grit LeetonginFelipe Lobelo, Ruth J.F. Loos, Bess Marcus, Brian W. Martin, Neville Owen, Diana C. Parra, Michael Pratt, Pekka Puska, David Ogilvie, Rodrigo S. Reis, James F. Sallis, Olga Lucia Sarmiento, Jonathan C. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


To implement effective non-communicable disease prevention programmes, policy makers need data for physical activity levels and trends. In this report, we describe physical activity levels worldwide with data for adults (15 years or older) from 122 countries and for adolescents (13-15-years-old) from 105 countries. Worldwide, 31.1% (95% CI 30.9-31.2) of adults are physically inactive, with proportions ranging from 17.0% (16.8-17.2) in southeast Asia to about 43% in the Americas and the eastern Mediterranean. Inactivity rises with age, is higher in women than in men, and is increased in high-income countries. The proportion of 13-15-year-olds doing fewer than 60 min of physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity per day is 80.3% (80.1-80.5); boys are more active than are girls. Continued improvement in monitoring of physical activity would help to guide development of policies and programmes to increase activity levels and to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number9838
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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