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Only 16% Indians inactive: Lancet

mumbai Updated: Jul 22, 2012 01:32 IST
Menaka Rao

Indians are more physically active than Europeans and Americans, according to a study published in British health journal The Lancet on Saturday.

The study states that only 15.6% of Indians are ‘inactive’, compared to 63.3% of the population in the UK and 40.5% of the US population.

The study has defined ‘inactive’ as per 2010 WHO recommendations, to include those with less than two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity activity per week or an hour’s intensive physical activity per week.

Public health experts, however, pointed out that the study did not differentiate between rural and urban lifestyles in India. “About 70% of India’s population is rural, where lifestyles are more active. Europe and America have larger urban populations. When we put the data together, Indians seem to fare better than the Caucasians,” said Dr P Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India.

The study also stated that 6.8% of the Indian populations was at a risk of dying of heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer because of inactive lifestyles. The world average for mortality due to these diseases is 9.4%. In India, about 19% of the population is likely to develop lifestyle diseases because of physical inactivity.

The study analysed the association of inactivity for each of those four major non-communicable diseases.