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Table 3 Prevalence of physical inactivity among adults based on findings from published literature

From: Physical inactivity, gender and culture in Arab countries: a systematic assessment of the literature

Country First author, year (year of study) Source Definition Instrument Prevalence (%) Age range Sample size
National samples
 Comoros Guthold, 2008 (2002-2003) World Health Survey <600 MET-minutes/week IPAQ 2.7 18-69 1492
 Jordan Zindah, 2008 (2004) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Not engaging in moderate activity (resulting in light sweating, small increases in breathing or heart rate. NA 51.8 18+ 710
 Kuwait Ahmed, 2013 (2002-2009) National Nutrition Surveillance Data No deliberate non-work related exercise outside the home such as walking, running or cycling NA 68.4 20+ 32811
Al-Zenki, 2012 (2008-2009) NA Neither moderately nor very activea NA 77.1 20+ 765
Alarouj, 2013 (NA) NA Neither moderate nor vigorous physical activitya NA 63.0 20-65 1970
 KSA Al-Baghli, 2008 (2004-2005) NA No physical activity or mild physical activity (ordinary housework, walking) NA 79.2 30+ 197681
Al-Nozha, 2007 (1995-2000) Coronary Artery Disease in Saudis Study (CADISS) <600 MET-minutes/week NA 96.1 30-70 17395
Memish, 2014 (2013) Saudi Health Information Survey Neither moderate nor vigorous physical activitya IPAQ 69.1 15+ 10735
 Lebanon Farah, 2015 (2013-2014) NA Neither moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 150 min per week or vigorous intensity physical activity for 75 min at least per week NA 76.0 40+ 1515
Tohme, 2005 (2003-2004) NA Less than 30 min of physical exercise NA 40.3 30+ 954
 Mauritania Guthold, 2008 (2002-2003) World Health Survey <600 MET-minutes/week IPAQ 61.9 18-49 1492
 Morocco El Rhazi, 2011 (2008) NA Less than 30 min per day   38.7 18+ 2620
Najdi, 2011 (2008) NA <3METs IPAQ 16.5 18-99 2613
 Palestine Baron-Epel, 2005 (2002-2003) KAP and EUROCHIS& Exercising less than once per week for at least 20 consecutive minutesb NA 62.8 21+ 1826c
 Tunisia Guthold, 2008 (2002-2003) World Health Survey <600 MET-minutes/week IPAQ 14.6 18-69 4332
 UAE Guthold, 2008 (2002-2003) World Health Survey <600 MET-minutes/week IPAQ 43.2 18-69 1104
Subnational samplesd
 Bahrain Al-Mahroos, 2001 (NA) NA <1 km walking WHO Heart and Health Questionnaire 77.5 40-69 2013
Hamadeh, 2000 (NA) NA No exercise NA 89.1 30-79 516
 Egypt Abolfotouh, 2007 (2002-2003) NA No non-vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes or 3 times per week NA 33.8 17-25 600
Kamel, 2013 (2010-2011) NA NA NA 63.8 60+ 340
Mahfouz, 2014 (2011) NA No exercise NA 78.3 NA 300
 Jordan Centers for Disease, Control, Prevention, 2003 (2002) Jordan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey Less than having moderate: activity that caused light sweating and small increases in heart rate or breathing for 30 minutes NA 47.4 18+ 8791
Mohannad, 2008 (2002) NA No activity that caused light sweating and small increases in heart rate or breathing NA 58.7 40+ 3083
Kulwicki, 2001 (NA) NA No exercise NA 22.5 17-93 209
Madanat, 2006 (2003) NA <30 mins of physical activity/week NA 81.5 Mean: 21.1 431
 KSA Almurshed, 2009 (2003-2004) NA No exercise NA 52.0 30+ 50
Al-Quaiz, 2009 (2007) NA Not practicing in any regular sport and leisure time physical activity CDC web site questionnaire 82.4 15-80 450
Al-Senany, 2015 (NA) NA Less than one hour weekly activity NA 69.0 60-90 55
Amin, 2011 (NA) NA <600 MET-minutes/week GPAQ 48.0 18-64 2176
Amin, 2014 (NA) NA <30 minutes /≥ 5 days/week GPAQe 80.0 18-78 2127
Awadalla, 2004 (2012-2013) NA Neither vigorous: >6 METs nor moderate: 3-6 METs IPAQ (short form) 58.0 17-25 1257
Garawi, 2015 (2004-2005) NA <600 MET-minutes/week GPAQ 67.0 15-64 4758
 Kuwait Naser Al-Isa, 2011 (NA)f NA Not engaging in regular physical activity NA 45.0 NA 787
 Lebanon Al-Tannir, 2008 (2007) NA Less than 3 days/week NA 44.5 18+ 346
Musharrafieh, 2008 (2001) NA Physical exercise for <0.5 h/week NA 73.6 Mean: 21.0 2013
Tamim, 2003 (2000-2001) NA <3 hours/week NA 64.3 Mean: 21.0 1964
 Mauritania Guthold, 2008 (2002-2003) World Health Survey <600 MET-minutes/week IPAQ 61.9 18-49 2726
 Palestine Abdul-Rahim, 2003 (NA) NA Occupation-related sedentary-light PA for men AND no exercise for women NA 56.2 30-65 936
Abu-Mourad, 2008 (2005) NA No home exercise or sports NA 78.0 18+ 956
 Qatar Al-Nakeeb, 2015 (NA) NA <840 MET-min/week NA 50. 8g Mean= 21.2 732
Bener, 2004 (2003) NA Not walking, cycling at least 30 minutes/day NA 55.3 25-65 1208
 Somalia Ali, 2015 (2013) NA <2 hours/week NA 33.5 18-29 173
 Syria Al Ali, 2011 (2006) 2nd Aleppo Household Survey Less than 15 mins/ week of sport or brisk walking NA 82.3 25+ 1168
 Tunisia Maatoug, 2009 (2009) NA <150 mins/week of moderate level of physical activity Oxford Health Alliance Community Intervention for Health Project 44.4 Mean: 37.9 1880
 UAE Abdulle, 2006 (2001-2005) NA Less than one hour, <3 times per week NA 39.4 20-75 424h
McIlvenny, 2000 (NA) NA No regular exercise NA 54.0 18-94 254
Sabri, 2004 (2001-2002) NA < 1 hour/week) of sport NA 47.5 20-65 436
  1. aDefinition of physical activity not specified
  2. bIt includes: walking, running, swimming playing ball games or any other sports activities (combined every day and nearly every day with once or twice a week)
  3. cPrevalence rate for Arabs only
  4. dOne study conducted in Libya by Salam (2012) was excluded from the prevalence table; it includes adolescents and youth (17-24 years) and the prevalence was 65.0%
  5. eCombined Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) version 2.0 with a modified show card based on World Health Organization STEPs survey
  6. fKuwaiti college students
  7. gOnly Qatari students
  8. hOnly normotensives