View Full Version : The Laziest Countries on Earth

Scarlet Ibis
09-01-2012, 11:16 PM
"Laziest" in terms of physical activity, anyway.



The Lancet recently released a series of reports on the state of physical activity -- or, more accurately, inactivity -- around the globe. Among the results? One in 10 deaths is now attributable to inactivity. But to find out just how inactive we were, as a species, Brazilian researcher Dr. Pedro C. Hallal from the Universidade Federal de Pelotas, compiled answers to 155 population surveys from 122 countries.

"In most countries, inactivity rises with age and is higher in women than in men. Inactivity is also increased in high-income countries," Hallal told The Telegraph. It's true that many affluent countries topped the ranking, though countries with great poverty, such as the Dominican Republic and Swaziland, also made it on the list. Also noteworthy were countries that are often associated with healthful lifestlyes: Japan, known for longevity and low cardiovascular disease rates, was in the bottom 25; Brazil, which is known for its strong sports traditions was also on the list; and several Mediterranean countries also associated with healthy eating and lifestyle were represented, including Italy, Spain and Portugal.

To collect the data, Hallal and colleagues aggregated responses to population-representative surveys. Respondents answered questions about their activity levels at work, at home, on transportation and during leisure time. Most countries used one of the World Health Organizations high-quality surveys, such as the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire or the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.

All but five countries had separate surveys for urban and country-living citizens and each survey had to include at least 50 people and be representative of the population. Those over the age of 15 were included in the adult surveys and some countries used surveys that included adolescents between the ages of 13 and 15 as well.

All told, Hallal and colleagues found that Malta was the least active country in the world, followed closely by Swaziland and Saudi Arabia. In fact, 71.9 percent of Maltese people qualified as inactive. To give some context, the United States had an inactivity rate of 41 percent and the country with the highest activity level, Bangladesh, had only 4.7 percent of its adult population operating with habitual inactivity. Other active winners include: Mozambique, with 7.1 percent inactivity; Benin, with 9.1 percent inactivity; Mongolia, at 9.4 percent and Cambodia at 11.2 percent.

Top 25 by Percent of Inactive Adults:

1. Malta 71.9%
2. Swaziland 69%
3. Saudi Arabia 68.8%
4. Argentina 68.3%
5. Serbia 68.3%
6. Micronesia 66.3%
7. Kuwait 64.5%
8. United Kingdom 63.3%
9. United Arab Emirates 62.5%
10. Malaysia 61.4%
11. Japan 60.2%
12. Dominican Republic 60%
13. Namibia 58.5%
14. Iraq 58.4%
15. Turkey 56%
16. Cyprus 55.4%
17. Italy 54.7%
18. Ireland 53.2%
19. South Africa 52.4%
20. Bhutan 52.3%
21. Samoa 51.1%
22. Portugal 51%
23. Spain 50.2%
24. Marshall Islands 49.6%
25. Brazil 49.2%

Compare with the OECD statistics for the top 25 obese countries. Note that the stats are 3 years old, though.


09-01-2012, 11:20 PM
Persian Gulf countries like U.A.E, Qatar etc should be on the top.

09-01-2012, 11:24 PM
Although UK and Ireland catch my eye as interesting exceptions, I believe the 25 most inactive countries you list would statistically have a hotter climate than the world average climate temperature (average being a weighted average which takes into account where the people live in the world).

Scarlet Ibis
09-02-2012, 04:31 PM
A correction to my post: The graphic does NOT show the top 25 in terms of obesity. Rather, it just shows a wide range of stats the OECD compiled about BMI.

A better comparison would be something more like the 2010 WHO ranking of countries with an adult population of a BMI of over 25.

1. Nauru 95%
2. (tied) Micronesia 92%
2. (tied) Cook Islands 92%
2. (tied) Tonga 92%
3. Niue 84%
4. Samoa 83%
5. Palau 81%
6. United States 79%
7. Kiribati 77 %
8. Dominica 76%
9. Kuwait 75%
10. Argentina 75%
11. Mexico 73%
12. Australia 71%
13. (tied) Egypt 70%
13. (tied) Greece 70%
14. Belarus 67%
15. United Kingdom 66%


03-28-2015, 12:24 AM
Yes, India, no obese, as there is nothing to eat.

Little bit
03-28-2015, 11:18 AM
Japan at number eleven surprises me and how did the US escape the lazy list given our obesity? I'm a daily walker in my neighborhood and it often seems like I'm living in a ghost town given how few others are out. I walk through a public park with a play set and tennis courts and it's more surprising when someone is there versus not there. But it's very cold where I live for most months, even now at the end of March, it's currently 16 degrees fahrenheit which my converter says is -8.88 celsius. When it's finally warm, people will come back out. I wonder if countries from the great white north are like here, very active during the short summer and bunker down for the winter or do they try to stay active like I do?

05-11-2015, 10:58 AM
Im surprised that america did not make the list for most physically inactive countries,


THe most physically active country in the world is bangladesh, and many other developing nations make the list

05-31-2015, 04:47 AM
I think the laziest country in the world is Greece. The unpreparedness as hosts of the Olympics comes to mind.:biggrin1: