WHO issues physical activity guidelines, saying it could save 5 million deaths

WHO issues physical activity guidelines, saying it could save 5 million deaths

KOLKATA (India) — The World Health Organization (WHO) says up to 5 million deaths can be prevented when the global population partakes in physical activities, especially in this era of Pandemic.

In new guidelines issued Thursday, WHO says that every single person, irrespective of their ability status, must be physically active in some way or the other and that every move will count.

WHO’s health advisory is a manifestation of the WHO Global action plan on physical activity 2018-2030 that global leaders had agreed upon in the 71st World Health Assembly in 2018.

The resolution sought to reduce physical inactivity by 15% by 2030.

As per the new WHO Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior, it is recommended to perform “at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week for all adults,” including for those who have chronic conditions and disability.

The advisory also suggests at least 60 minutes of activities a day for children and adolescent.

The guidelines were published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet, meaning that they are scientific and evidence-backed.

The global health body’s advisory comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has crippled the entire global economy, took jobs, and forced people indoors.

Since the virus spreads via respiratory droplets of an infected person while coughing, sneezing, talking, or singing, the best possible way to prevent infection is maintaining social distancing and wearing face mask.

Work from home emerged as the new normal, as governments from around the world are imposing restrictions on mass gathering to stem the spread of the virus.

But in the shadow, confinement in homes have proven to be depreciating to health in some ways, while it is every bit essential to stay indoors for the sake of the self, and others.

WHO says, without clarifying the time-frame, five million deaths could be prevented if people were more physically active. The health agency says one in four adults, and four out of five adolescents lack enough physical activities.

Global expenses of the repercussions of less physical activity and related causes cost an estimated US$15 billion in direct health care and another US$54 billion to lost productivity, WHO says.

“Being physically active is critical for health and well-being – it can help to add years to life and life to years,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Every move counts, especially now as we manage the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must all move every day – safely and creatively,” he added.

The new guidelines specifically encourage women to maintain enough physical activity throughout pregnancy and post-delivery. Older adults, over-aged 65, are also being urged to perform enough physical activities for muscle strengthening.

“These new guidelines highlight how important being active is for our hearts, bodies, and minds, and how the favorable outcomes benefit everyone, of all ages and abilities”, said Dr. Fiona Bull, Head of the Physical Activity Unit which led the development of the new WHO guidelines.

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