According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Filipino youths had an overall “physical inactivity prevalence” of 93.4%, ranking second in its list. Topping it is South Korea with a rate of 94.2%.
Over 1.6 million teens in 146 countries were surveyed for the study.
When separated by sex, the news doesn’t look promising for Filipinos, too. Pinoy males ranked the most inactive at 92.8%, while females ranked second most inactive at 94.1%.
According to Dr. Regina Guthold, the study’s lead author, there are several reasons for physical inactivity. Increasing mobile phone use is one, while others include the absence of public places where citizens can be active. These include parks, sidewalks, green spaces, cycling paths, and other sporting facilities.
Guthold says, “It’s not the individuals (who) are to be blamed. It’s more often society, the environment that makes them— forces them almost—to be inactive.”
She adds, “[There’s a need for] strong political leadership to raise awareness that this is an issue—to know their impact on health. We need to improve the education sector—to integrate physical activity [in classes], the transport sector, (and) urban planning to create spaces safe for physical activity. If we do that, it contributes to other goals like reducing pollution.”
Being physically inactive has consequences, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and colon and breast cancer. WHO recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity of moderate-to-vigorous intensity, like walking, biking or joining physical classes. Consistent physical activity can lead to better health, respiratory fitness, and better cognitive development.
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