If adults were to become more active, they can improve their muscular and cardio-respiratory fitness, bone health, weight control and reduce their risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and various types of cancer.
More than half of all adults in Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq were insufficiently active, while inadequate levels elsewhere of 40 per cent appeared in the USA, 36 per cent in the United Kingdom and 14 per cent in China.
"Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women's access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable", co-author Dr. Fiona Bull from World Health Organization said.
"On average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health".
In its Global Action Plan issued in June, WHO outlined its goal to help decrease overall physical inactivity in the world by 10 percent before 2025, but warned in its latest report that this goal won't be reached if current trends continue.
The researchers analyzed findings from hundreds of surveys that included 1.9 million adults, 18 and older, in 168 countries.
The new report found that around the world, 32 percent of women and 23 percent of men don't get enough exercise, even when accounting for time spent walking or biking to work and physical activity on the job.
One bright spot on the global exercise map was southeast Asia, where women were equally as active as men in the only region where inactivity has decreased since 2001.
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Adults are generally encouraged to do 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. The WHO report, as quoted in BBC says that around 1.4 billion people are not involved in physical activities much. Among their results, they found a large disparity between the amount of inactivity among high-income countries (37 percent) compared to low-income countries (16 percent).
The ratio of such people in Japan compared with 67 percent in Kuwait, the highest in the world, 42 percent in Germany, 41 percent in Italy and 40 percent in the United States. This can be, however, as high as one in three adults inactive in some counties.
In addition to the multiple health benefits of physical activity, societies that are more active can generate additional returns on investment including a reduced use of fossil fuels, cleaner air and less congested, safer roads.
There is an eight percent different between men and women.
"Americans are just not getting enough exercise".
"Policies to increase population levels of physical activity need to be prioritised and scaled up urgently", it added.