Lancet Global Health: Expanding our understanding of the global impact of physical inactivity

12 December, 2022

Citation and extract from Lancet Global Health, and a question/comment from me below.

CITATION: Expanding our understanding of the global impact of physical inactivity

Peter T Katzmarzyk

Lancet Global Health

Published: December 05, 2022 DOI:

'Physical inactivity (ie, not meeting WHO recommendations for physical activity) is a highly prevalent risk factor for premature mortality and several non-communicable diseases (NCDs)... In The Lancet Global Health, Andreia Costa Santos and colleagues present new data on the global economic costs of physical inactivity. The authors report that, in the absence of any change in the global prevalence of physical inactivity, almost 500 million new cases of preventable NCDs and INT$520 billion in associated health-care costs would be realised between 2020 and 2030 (11 years)... the absolute NCD mortality burden attributable to physical inactivity is greatest in middle-income countries, where the bulk of the world's population lives...'

COMMENT (NPW): Obesity is recognised as the fifth leading cause of death worldwide, with huge levels of associated morbidity. In some countries obesity has been seen as a sign of wealth and health, and it would be important to understand current attitudes and beliefs. Can anyone comment on the level of public awareness about the strong links between obesity and NCDs? I did a quick google search and was surprised to find very little on this subject. In the first 5 pages of google I picked out the following facts:

'Public awareness of the link between obesity and cancer is low [in UK]'

'These increases in awareness are extremely encouraging and show that people are changing their attitudes towards risk factors and cancer. However, we hope that eventually, the number of people aware of the link between diet and physical activity and cancer will be as high as awareness on smoking and cancer, which has been at around 89% for the last ten years.'

'The vast majority of overweight or obese children live in developing countries, where the rate of increase has been more than 30% higher than that of developed countries'

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator

Healthcare Information For All/Global Healthcare Information Network

Working in official relations with the World Health Organization