At least 60% of the world's population fails to complete the recommended amount of physical activity required to induce health benefits. This is partly due to insufficient participation in physical activity during leisure time and an increase in sedentary behaviour during occupational and domestic activities. An increase in the use of "passive" modes of transport has also been associated with declining physical activity levels.
Levels of inactivity are high in virtually all developed and developing countries. In developed countries more than half of adults are insufficiently active. In rapidly growing large cities of the developing world, physical inactivity is an even greater problem. Urbanisation has resulted in several environmental factors which may discourage participation in physical activity:
Consequently, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) associated with physical inactivity are the greatest public health problem in most countries around the world. Effective public health measures are urgently needed to improve physical activity behaviours in all populations.