healthHealth and Medicine

These Are The Laziest Countries In The World, According To The WHO


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer


Evgeniia Freeman/Shutterstock

A study led by the World Health Organization (WHO) has tracked rates of physical activity around the world – and revealed which country is the least active.

Published in The Lancet Global Health, the large study included 1.9 million people in 168 countries, who completed surveys on their activity, which the WHO said represented 96 percent of the global population.


Their findings showed that in 2016, about a quarter of all adults – or 1.4 billion people – were not getting enough activity, putting them “at risk of developing or exacerbating diseases linked to inactivity.” This includes conditions like type-diabetes and some cancers.

Being active was defined by the WHO as doing at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, 150 minutes of moderate activity, or a combination of the two.

Using this definition, the laziest country was said to be Kuwait, where 67 percent of the population did not get enough activity per week. American Samoa was second last at 53.5 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Brazil.

The 10 laziest countries


Kuwait (67 percent not doing enough activity per week)

American Samoa (53.4 percent)

Saudi Arabia (53 percent)

Iraq (52 percent)


Brazil (47 percent)

Costa Rica (46.1 percent)

Cyprus (44.4 percent)

Suriname (44.4 percent)


Colombia (44 percent)

Marshall Islands (43.5 percent)

The US ranked 143rd, with just 40 percent of its adults not doing enough exercise. And the UK was similarly bad, coming in at 123rd with 35.9 percent of the country not doing enough.

Uganda was the country that did the best, with just 5.5 percent of the country not doing enough exercise per week. They were followed by Mozambique, Lesotho, Tanzania, and Niue.


The 10 most active countries

Uganda (5.5 percent)

Mozambique (5.6 percent)

Lesotho (6.3 percent)


Tanzania (6.5 percent)

Niue (6.9 percent)

Vanuatu (8 percent)

Togo (9.8 percent)


Cambodia (10.5 percent)

Myanmar (10.7 percent)

Tokelau (11.1 percent)

The WHO said their results showed a global effort to reduce physical inactivity by 10 percent in 2025 was “not on track”. They noted that physical activity was particularly high in high-income countries, and women tended to be less active than men.


“A significant increase in national action is urgently needed in most countries to scale-up implementation of effective policies,” they said. “However, implementation will require bold leadership and full engagement across sectors to change the current approach.”


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