More than 35 per cent of people in India are insufficiently active, increasing their risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and mental health problems, finds a study by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The findings, published in journal The Lancet Global Health, demonstrated that nearly 50 per cent women and 25 per cent men in India were insufficiently active in 2016.
Worldwide, around one in three women and one in four men do not do enough physical activity to stay healthy.
Women were less active than men, with an over 8 per cent difference at the global level (32 per cent men vs 23 per cent women).
High income countries are more inactive (37 per cent) compared with middle income (26 per cent) and low income countries (16 per cent).
The data showed that if current trends continue, the 2025 global activity target of a 10 per cent relative reduction in insufficient physical activity will not be met, the researchers said.
"Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health," said lead author Regina Guthold of the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland.
"Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women's access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable," said co-author Fiona Bull from WHO.
The study which provides the most comprehensive global estimates of the prevalence and trends of physical activity to date, included 358 surveys from 168 countries totalling 1·9 million people.
"The data shows the need for all countries to increase the priority given to national and sub-national actions to provide the environments that support physical activity and increase the opportunities for people of all ages and abilities, to be active every day," the WHO said.