The implications of megatrends in information and communication technology and transportation for changes in global physical activity

Lancet. 2012 Jul 21;380(9838):282-93. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60736-3.


Physical inactivity accounts for more than 3 million deaths per year, most from non-communicable diseases in low-income and middle-income countries. We used reviews of physical activity interventions and a simulation model to examine how megatrends in information and communication technology and transportation directly and indirectly affect levels of physical activity across countries of low, middle, and high income. The model suggested that the direct and potentiating eff ects of information and communication technology, especially mobile phones, are nearly equal in magnitude to the mean eff ects of planned physical activity interventions. The greatest potential to increase population physical activity might thus be in creation of synergistic policies in sectors outside health including communication and transportation. However, there remains a glaring mismatch between where studies on physical activity interventions are undertaken and where the potential lies in low-income and middle-income countries for population-level effects that will truly affect global health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Exercise
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Information Services / trends*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Technology / trends*
  • Transportation*