New cards detailing baseline data on physical inactivity for 131 countries have been released by The Global Observatory for Physical Activity (GoPA!), a group of physical activity researchers. The cards are in PDF form and give an at–glance snapshot of 131 countries and their level of physical inactivity including correlations with policy and surveillance.

The cards are based on data collected in series in 2012 and 2013 that was published in the journal Lancet. This study highlighted the serious health issues involved with physical inactivity. They concluded that physical inactivity is the cause of approximately 5 million deaths per year across the globe, similar to the number of fatalities linked to smoking.

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The study found the average for physical inactivity worldwide was 30%. In the U.S., this figure was at 32% even though the U.S. published the greatest number of research on the subject of physical activity. Researchers also concluded that less than one-third of the countries included in their study obtained regular records on their population’s physical inactivity. Four of the 10 most physically active countries in the world were located in South and Southeast Asia; 5 of the least active countries were located in Europe.

The researchers, lead by Harold Kohl, PhD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center, plan to release updated cards every two years with the hope that they will encourage countries to improve their scores. “For example, knowing that your country is 50th in research productivity might help motivate processes of change to increase that effort and ranking,” said Kohl.

The data card for each country can be viewed here: 

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