04 December 2015

Global State of physical activity

Global State of physical activity

The Global Observatory for Physical Activity has released country report cards for 131 countries covering 67% of the world.

Country cards collate the existing information on demographic factors, deaths related to physical inactivity, the current surveillance process and policy status, prevalence of physical activity and research metrics. An individual country card is available for each country in the UK.

Overall, in the UK 16.9% of deaths can be attributed to inactivity. This is higher than the worldwide figure standing at 9%.


  • The current physical activity plan is Everybody Active Every Day launched in 2014.
  • Overall, 59% of adults (aged 16+) in England meet the physical activity guidelines.
  • Men are more active than women – 67% of men meet the physical activity guidelines compared to 55% of women.

DOWNLOAD: England report card


  • A More Active Scotland is the national physical activity programme, launched in 2014.
  • 64% of adults aged over 16 meet the physical activity guidelines in Scotland. Once again, a higher percentage of males (71%) meet the guidelines compared to females (58%).

DOWNLOAD: Scotland report card


  • The Welsh physical activity strategy is Creating an Active Wales.
  • 29% of adults in Wales are active for 30 minutes on at least five days of the week. 37% of men meet this recommendation compared to 23% of women.

DOWNLOAD: Wales report card

Northern Ireland

  • The physical activity strategy for Northern Ireland is incorporated within the ‘Obesity Framework for Northern Ireland 2012-2020’ and ‘Sport Matters’.
  • 53% of adults over the age of 18 meet physical activity guidelines. 60% of men are active compared to 47% of women.

DOWNLOAD: Northern Ireland report card

UK research metrics

  • The UK is ranked 4th in the world for physical activity research.
  • In 2013, 115 articles were written on physical activity and public health.
  • There are 515 active researchers and 49 identified publishing groups.

DOWNLOAD: All report cards