Insufficient Physical Activity Among Adults and Human Development Index: A Global Study


Insufficient Physical Activity
Human Development Index

How to Cite

Momenabadi , V. ., Goodarzi, E. . ., Seraji , M. ., Naghibzadeh-Tahami , A. ., Beiranvand, R. ., Nejadsadeghi , E. ., Zahmatkeshan, M. . ., Moayed , L. ., & Khazaei, Z. . (2020). Insufficient Physical Activity Among Adults and Human Development Index: A Global Study. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 22(7). Retrieved from


Background: Insufficient physical activity, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, plays an important role in the spread of non-communicable diseases.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to investigate the insufficient physical activity and its relationship with the human devel- opment index (HDI) in the world.

Methods: This is an ecological study, and the study data, including the human development index and the incidence of insufficient physical activity, were extracted from the World Bank’s database. The descriptive analysis included mean and standard deviation. The inferential analysis consisted of two-way correlation and ANOVA at a significance level of less than 0.05. The analyses were performed using Stata-14 software.

Results: The highest insufficient physical activity in both sexes (39.26 [37.42, 40.95]) was found in the Americas, especially in high- income regions. There was a significant positive correlation between the incidence of insufficient physical inactivity and HDI in the world (r = 0.446, P < 0.0001). This correlation was also significant in Asia and Africa (P < 0.05). The results showed a positive correla- tion between components of HDI (i.e., gross national income per 1000 capita, mean years of schooling, life expectancy at birth, and expected years of schooling) and insufficient activity (P < 0.0001). The results of ANOVA also exhibited a significant relationship between the mean prevalence of physical inactivity and the level of development (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Given the significant correlation between the incidence of insufficient physical inactivity and HDI, understanding this correlation and its components, especially in low- and middle-income countries can alleviate the impact of physical inactivity epidemics in the future, thereby contributing to the effective global prevention of non-communicable diseases.



  1. Leites GT, Bastos GAN, Bastos JP. Prevalence of insufficient physical activity in adolescents in South Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Cineantropometria & Desempenho Humano. 2013;15(3):286-95.
  2. Kavousi E, Khazaei Z, Amini A, Fattahi E, Pnahi A, Sohrabivafa M, et al. Promoting behaviors of healthiness in two domains of physical activity and nutrition statue in high school students. International journal of pediatrics. 2017;5(5):4839-47.
  3. Lim SS, Vos T, Flaxman AD, Danaei G, Shibuya K, Adair-Rohani H, et al. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The lancet. 2012;380(9859):2224-60.
  4. Inoue S, Sugiyama T, Takamiya T, Oka K, Owen N, Shimomitsu T. Television viewing time is associated with overweight/obesity among older adults, independent of meeting physical activity and health guidelines. Journal of Epidemiology. 2012;1(2):256.
  5. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. Physical activity guidelines advisory committee report, 2008. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2008. NaN p.
  6. World Health Organization. Global action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases 2013-2020. World Health Organization; 2013. Contract No.: 9241506237.
  7. Ngandu T, Lehtisalo J, Solomon A, Levälahti E, Ahtiluoto S, Antikainen R, et al. A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. 2015;385(9984):2255-63.
  8. Rodgers A, Ezzati M, Vander Hoorn S, Lopez AD, Lin R, Murray CJ, et al. Distribution of major health risks: findings from the Global Burden of Disease study. PLoS medicine. 2004;1(1).
  9. Bauman AE, Reis RS, Sallis JF, Wells JC, Loos RJ, Martin BW, et al. Correlates of physical activity: why are some people physically active and others not? The lancet. 2012;380(9838):258-71.
  10. do Paranс C. Physical Activity 2 Correlates of physical activity: why are some people physically active and others not? Lancet. 2012;2(2).
  11. Trost SG, Owen N, Bauman AE, Sallis JF, Brown W. Correlates of adults’ participation in physical activity: review and update. Medicine & science in sports & exercise. 2002;34(12):1996-2001.
  12. Macniven R, Bauman A, Abouzeid M. A review of population-based prevalence studies of physical activity in adults in the Asia-Pacific region. BMC public health. 2012;12(1):41.
  13. Giles-Corti B, Donovan RJ. Socioeconomic status differences in recreational physical activity levels and real and perceived access to a supportive physical environment. Preventive medicine. 2002;35(6):601-11.
  14. World Health Organization. The Global Health Observatory. 2018, [cited 2018 Jan 17]. Available from:
  15. Goodarzi E, Moayed L, Sohrabivafa W, Adineh HA, Khazaei Z. Epidemiology incidence and mortality of breast cancer and its association with the body mass index and human development index in the asian population. World Cancer Research Journal. 2019;6(1):10.
  16. Khazaei Z, Sohrabivafa M, Darvishi I, Naemi H, Goodarzi E. Relation between obesity prevalence and the human development index and its components: an updated study on the Asian population. Journal of Public Health volume. 2020;1(28):323–329.
  17. Trinh OT, Nguyen ND, Dibley MJ, Phongsavan P, Bauman AE. The prevalence and correlates of physical inactivity among adults in Ho Chi Minh City. BMC public health. 2008;8(1):204.
  18. Bauman A, Phongsavan P, Schoeppe S, Owen N. Physical activity measurement-a primer for health promotion. Promotion & education. 2006;13(2):92-103.
  19. Craig CL, Marshall AL, Sjöström M, Bauman AE, Booth ML, Ainsworth BE, et al. International physical activity questionnaire: 12-country reliability and validity. Medicine & science in sports & exercise. 2003;35(8):1381-95.
  20. Prättälä R, Helasoja V, Kasmel A, Klumbiene J, Pudule I. Finbalt health monitor. Global Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance. Springer; 2003. p. 57-72.
  21. World Health Organization. Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2014. World Health Organization; 2014. Report No.: WHO/NMH/NVI/15.1. Contract No.: 9241564857.
  22. Kanbur R. The role of the world bank in middle-income countries. Issues in Indian public policies. Springer; 2018. p. 167-80.
  23. Monteiro CA, Conde WL, Matsudo SM, Matsudo VR, Bonseñor IM, Lotufo PA. A descriptive epidemiology of leisure-time physical activity in Brazil, 1996-1997. Revista Panamericana de Salud Publica. 2003;14:246-54.
  24. Al-Nozha MM, Al-Hazzaa HM, Arafah MR, Al-Khadra A, Al-Mazrou YY, Al-Maatouq MA, et al. Prevalence of physical activity and inactivity among Saudis aged 30-70 years. Saudi Med J. 2007;28(4):559-68.
  25. Al-Hazzaa HM. Health-enhancing physical activity among Saudi adults using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). Public health nutrition. 2007;10(1):59-64.
  26. Kohl 3rd HW, Craig CL, Lambert EV, Inoue S, Alkandari JR, Leetongin G, et al. The pandemic of physical inactivity: global action for public health. The lancet. 2012;380(9838):294-305.
  27. Katzmarzyk PT, Mason C. The physical activity transition. Journal of Physical activity and Health. 2009;6(3):269-80.
  28. Guthold R, Ono T, Strong KL, Chatterji S, Morabia A. Worldwide variability in physical inactivity: a 51-country survey. American journal of preventive medicine. 2008;34(6):486-94.
  29. Finger JD, Tylleskär T, Lampert T, Mensink GB. Physical activity patterns and socioeconomic position: the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey 1998 (GNHIES98). BMC Public Health. 2012;12(1):1079.
  30. Beenackers MA, Kamphuis CB, Giskes K, Brug J, Kunst AE, Burdorf A, et al. Socioeconomic inequalities in occupational, leisure-time, and transport related physical activity among European adults: a systematic review. International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity. 2012;9(1):116.