High-income countries had insufficient physical activity two times higher than low-income countries and that rate increased by five percent between 2001 and 2016.
It was deduced that mostly in high-income countries like the United Kingdom and U.S., the percentage of inactive people has increased from 32 to 37 from 2001 to 2016.
The recommended exercise is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week.
Countries with the worst physical activity record included Kuwait, American Samoa, a USA territory in the South Pacific, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. In less well-off countries, people tend to be more active at work and for transport, they said. "Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases", says Dr Regina Guthold lead author of the study.
The trend of insufficient physical activity levels worldwide is getting worse, not better, the new study published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Global Health reveals.
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It examined data from 358 surveys across 168 countries, including 1·9 million participants.
The surveys took note of physical activity in work, at home, for transport and during leisure time - so we have no excuses. One in three women and one in four men do not take enough exercise or move about enough, too often sitting at desks all day at work, in front of the TV in the evening and travelling by auto.
Guthold said the link between the lifestyle in wealthier nations - more time indoors, longer office hours, more easily accessible high-calorie foods - and lower exercise levels, was part of a "clear pattern" of poorer health coming with urbanisation.
Steven Ward, chief executive of the charity UK Active, said: "Inactivity is the cause of 20,000 premature deaths in the UK each..."
The study suggests that living in a high income country, you're twice as likely not to get the exercise you need (36·8 percent), than in a low-income country (16·2 percent).
About three-quarters of countries have a policy or action plan to increase physical activity among its citizens, but few have been implemented or made a substantial impact, Dr. Fiona Bull of World Health Organization, a co-author of the report, said.
The Ministry of Health welcomes World Health Organization (WHO) findings about global physical activity trends, which reinforces key messages about the benefits of being regularly physically active. She added that they can also improve environments so more people can walk, cycle or physically move in other ways.