The global study, published in The Lancet, found around 3-of-10 adults worldwide do not meet the recommended amounts of weekly activity -- 15-30 minutes a day of brisk walking.
Within Europe, Malta was the most inactive -- 71 percent did no exercise -- followed by 68 percent in Serbia and 63 percent in Britain, while those who were the most active were Greece, Estonia and the Netherlands, the Irish Independent reported.
Forty-one percent of U.S. adults, 34 percent of Canadian adults and 33 percent of adults in France were physically inactive.
Worldwide, about 1.5 billion people, about one-third of all adults, and 4-out-5 adolescents failed to do the recommended amounts of physical activity.
A lack of regular exercise increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer by 20 percent to 30 percent, or 5.3 million, of premature deaths in 2008, the study said.