World Health Organisation study finds Kiwis are getting lazier

A man sits on a couch.
A man sits on a couch. Photo credit: Getty

A new World Health Organisation (WHO) report has found people are getting lazier - especially New Zealanders.

The study, which was published in The Lancet, looked at the self-reported data of 1.9 million people and found rising numbers of people admitting they were inactive.

To be inactive, a person would have to do less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

Inactivity could lead to adverse health problems like heart diseases and Type 2 diabetes.

High-income countries, which include the United States and United Kingdom, had risen from 32 percent classed as inactive in 2001, to 37 percent in 2016, the BBC reports.

Among the main countries driving that trend upwards are New Zealand, Germany and the United States.

Women were found to be less active than men everywhere, except East and South-East Asia, which the researchers put down to their higher participation in domestic tasks.

"One way to explain sex differences in activity is to assess male and female participation in different domains of activity (activity at work or in the household, for transport, and during leisure time), and at different intensities," the report said.

"Offering more opportunities for safe and accessible leisure-time activity to women in order to increase their overall levels of activity would therefore help close the gender gap, and achieve the 2025 global physical activity target."

The report also singled out transport as a reason people are less active, saying in the wealthier countries motorised transport has led to more sedentary lifestyles.

It suggested non-motorised forms of transport like walking and cycling should be encouraged.

"Effective policies include improved provision of cycling and walking infrastructure, improving road safety, and creating more opportunities for physical activity in public open spaces and parks, in workplaces, and in other local community settings," it said.