A recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) has placed three Arab countries among the least active in the world.
Published in medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday, the report found that Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq have registered the highest rates of physical inactivity across the globe, alongside American Samoa, an unincorporated territory of the U.S. located in the South Pacific Ocean.
Kuwait is the least active country in the world
Based on data from 358 population-based surveys across 168 countries, the study (from 2001 to 2016) revealed that Kuwait has the highest rate of physical inactivity in the world, amounting to 67 percent.
American Samoa and Saudi Arabia followed with a rate of 53 percent, while Iraq registered a rate of 52 percent.
The report also found that women registered lower physical activity than men in 159 out of the 168 countries, with a difference exceeding 20 percentage points in nine countries, including Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
Among other factors, the report cited "cultural norms, traditional roles, or lack of social and community support" as the causes behind the reduced physical activity among females.
Meanwhile, Jordan is the most active in the region
According to WHO, Jordan registered the lowest physical inactivity rate in Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, with a rate of 11.9 percent.
It is worth noting that the overall percentage of physical inactivity in the region was found to be 32.8 percent.
WHO warns against the dangers of global inactivity
Furthermore, the study found that 28 percent of adults globally are physically inactive, noting that the worldwide level of inactivity has not improved since 2001.
WHO thus warned against the dangers of regular physical inactivity, citing cardiovascular diseases, several types of cancer and diabetes, as well as mental health conditions.
The organization also called upon nations "to increase the priority given to national and sub-national actions to provide the environments that support physical activity and increase the opportunities for people of all ages and abilities, to be active every day".
According to WHO, at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity is recommended for adults each week.
Dubai is setting the right example for the region
In 2017, Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan launched The Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC), a new initiative with the goal of turning the city into the most active in the world.
Last year, nearly 1 million people from numerous government departments, corporate entities, schools, universities, and the public joined in the movement and committed to getting their daily exercise.
DFC is set to return this year as residents across the UAE commit to 30 minutes of continuous exercise a day for 30 days in total.