Shifting the physical inactivity curve worldwide by closing the gender gap

Mielke, Gregore I. and da Silva, Inacio Chrochemore M. and Kolbe-Alexander, Tracy L. and Brown, Wendy J. (2018) Shifting the physical inactivity curve worldwide by closing the gender gap. Sports Medicine, 48 (2). pp. 481-489. ISSN 0112-1642


Purpose The aims of this study were to (i) examine gender differences in physical inactivity in countries with different levels of Human Development Index (HDI); and (ii) assess whether small changes in the prevalence of inactivity in women could achieve the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global inactivity target. Methods Data on inactivity were extracted for 142 countries for the year 2010 from the WHO Data Repository. Data for HDI were obtained for the year 2010 from the United Nations Development Program. Absolute and relative gender differences were calculated for countries according to four HDI categories. The potential effects of increasing women’s activity levels on achievement of the WHO physical inactivity target were computed.
Results Overall inactivity prevalence was higher in women (27%) than in men (20%). Women were more inactive than men in all except eight countries. Absolute gender differences [median 7.5% (range -10.1 to 33.2)] did not vary by HDI category, but there was a small negative correlation between relative gender difference in inactivity and HDI (rho -0.19; p = 0.02), which was mostly influenced by three outlier countries with low HDI. A decrease in inactivity levels of 4.8% points among women across the world would achieve the WHO target of reducing global levels of inactivity by 10%.Conclusion Gender differences in the prevalence of physical inactivity were highly variable, both within and across categories of HDI. Interventions which result in small changes in inactivity prevalence in women would achieve the 2025 WHO global target for inactivity, without any change to the prevalence in men.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version as per copyright policy of Publisher. This was e-published ahead of print (24 June 2017). Published in journal February 2018.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2018 05:25
Last Modified: 14 May 2018 01:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: physical activity, development index, gender gap
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/s40279-017-0754-7

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