Women were less active than men in all but East and South-East Asia, with the biggest differences being in South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, north Africa and high-income Western countries. Levels of insufficient physical activity are more than twice as high in high-income countries compared to low-income countries, and increased by 5% in high-income countries between 2001 and 2016.
This is compared to global figures in 2016 with indicates that 27.5 percent of the world population aren't getting enough physical activity.
The researchers analyzed findings from hundreds of surveys that included 1.9 million adults, 18 and older, in 168 countries.
Australia ranked 97-out-of-168 countries involved in the study for the number of people being sufficiently active.
According to the study, in 2016, around one in three women (32 per cent) and one in four men (23 per cent) worldwide were not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity to stay healthy - i.e., at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorousintensity physical activity per week.
The study also said that there has been no improvement in global levels of physical activity since 2001.
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Rates of physical activity are largely unchanged since 2001, in some cases worsening and with large disparities between men and women, the report said. The countries with the most favorable activity levels were Uganda and Mozambique; in each only 6 percent of adults were not meeting the physical activity guidelines.
Participants were asked to self-report their activity levels at home, at work, and during travel and leisure time. That discrepancy, the authors write, is likely related to differing gender norms related to work and recreation around the world, as well as safety and accessibility issues in many countries that prevent women from exercising.
The WHO says insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for premature death worldwide.
Adults aren't exercising as much as they should.
The study's authors suggest that countries improve those tactics and provide environments that encourage physical activity.
Guthold said that countries and communities alike can address descending levels of exercise by "creating new opportunities and programs to support and engage people to be more active".