JAKARTA, Nov 26 (NNN-Bernama) — The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called upon countries in Southeast Asia to accelerate action to address insufficient physical activity among the population in order to reverse the growing epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that cause around 8.5 million deaths every year.
“Physical activity helps prevent non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers, which continue to be leading killer diseases in the region and a risk for severe disease and deaths in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said WHO South-East Asia Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh.
Presently, 15 per cent adults and 74 per cent adolescents aged 11 to 17 years in the region do not meet recommendations for physical activity, she said in a statement.
Therefore, countries and communities must provide everyone with more opportunities to be physically active, especially with movement restrictions and work-from-home mandates that have further fuelled the sedentary lifestyles.
Multi-sectoral collaboration approach are required to create an enabling and safe environment for physical activity.
WHO has been advocating physical exercise as one of the primary preventive measure and best buys against NCDs, a flagship priority programme of the region since 2014.
It has also recently launched the Regional Roadmap for implementation of Global Action Plan for Physical Activity, which aims to facilitate context-specific activities to achieve 10 per cent relative reduction of insufficient physical activity by 2025.