Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researcher calls for global action on pandemic of physical inactivity

Date:
July 18, 2012
Source:
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Summary:
The high prevalence and consequences of physical inactivity should be recognized as a global pandemic, according to a new article.

The high prevalence and consequences of physical inactivity should be recognized as a global pandemic, according to a new publication by Harold W. Kohl, III, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health, part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Related Articles


“Physical inactivity continues to be undervalued among people who can make a difference despite evidence of its health benefits and the evident cost burden posed by present levels of physical inactivity globally,” said Kohl, who is also with the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at the UT School of Public Health.

The paper is the fifth and final paper in The Lancet “Series on Physical Activity” published this week and outlines key strategies and resources needed to make physical activity a global public health priority. “This series emphasizes the need to focus on population physical activity levels as an outcome, not just decreasing obesity,” said Kohl, professor of kinesiology at The University of Texas at Austin.

The health burden of physical inactivity is substantial, according to Kohl. “Although regular physical activity is critical for weight control, it is equally or more important for lowering risk of many different chronic diseases such as heart disease, some cancers, osteoporosis and diabetes.”

According to Kohl, research on physical activity needs to be its own priority within public health research of non-communicable diseases.

Globally nearly one-third of persons 15 and over were insufficiently active in 2008 and approximately 3.2 million deaths each year are attributable to insufficient physical activity, according to the World Health Organization. In 2008, the prevalence of insufficient physical activity was highest in the Americas and Eastern Mediterranean regions.

In the paper, the researchers argue for increased prioritizing of physical activity across multiple sectors of influence including health, transportation, sports, education and business. “This issue is of particular importance in countries with low-to-middle incomes, where rapid economic and social changes are likely to reduce the domestic, work and transport-related physical activity demands of daily life,” said Kohl. “Improved understanding of what works best in these nations will be key to developing national policies and action plans.

Kohl recommends a multi-sector and systems-wide approach to physical activity promotion to increase population levels of activity worldwide rather than efforts focused on individual health. “Traditional approaches, where responsibility for change has resided with the health sector, will not be sufficient,” said Kohl. “Improvements must happen at every level including planning and policy, leadership and advocacy and workforce training.”

In 2008, 25.4 percent of U.S. adults reported no leisure time physical activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). County estimates of leisure-time physical inactivity range from 10.1 percent to 43 percent in the United States. These rates reflect adults who report no physical activity or exercise other than at their regular job.

“The response to physical inactivity has been incomplete, unfocused, understaffed and underfunded compared with other risk factors for non-communicable diseases,” said Kohl. “This has put physical activity in reverse gear compared with population trends and advances in tobacco and alcohol control and diet.”

Kohl said Texas is one of a few states that have a plan to promote physical activity, Active Texas 2020. He led the development of the plan with the Governor’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness. The Active Texas plan includes strategies and ideas that can be used by communities throughout the state.

“Physical education in schools is still one of the most effective means promoting physical activity, particularly among children,” said Kohl. Texas Education Code requires elementary school students to receive at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity and 225 minutes of physical activity per two weeks for four of six semesters for middle school students.

Kohl was recently appointed to lead the Institute of Medicine’s committee on Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment. He is on the President’s Council of Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Science Board. Kohl also led development of the 2008 U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Harold W Kohl, Cora Lynn Craig, Estelle Victoria Lambert, Shigeru Inoue, Jasem Ramadan Alkandari, Grit Leetongin, Sonja Kahlmeier. The pandemic of physical inactivity: global action for public health. The Lancet, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60898-8

Cite This Page:

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "Researcher calls for global action on pandemic of physical inactivity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718112055.htm>.
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. (2012, July 18). Researcher calls for global action on pandemic of physical inactivity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718112055.htm
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "Researcher calls for global action on pandemic of physical inactivity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718112055.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins