Living in the 21st century, the people are more tech-oriented. Rather than being energetic living in this fast paced life, we are becoming more lethargic & physically inactive. This fact applies not only to the adults but to young children & adolescents as well. The reason being dependant on the machines that provide us services; instead of washing the dishes by hand, we chose to use the dishwasher to save time & avoid extra chores. Using the car to go from one place to another, when walking or cycling can be a healthier alternate.
“Physical fitness is basically defined as a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity” (components of Physical Fitness) It’s not just the activities that you do, but the ability of your body to endure and sustain various physical activities. The sedentary life style that is being welcomed in more and more American households is causing many health related problems like obesity, diabetes, arthritis etc in adults and children alike.
More than half of the U.S. adults are obese according to the U.S. centres for disease control and prevention. Annually, more than 300,000 deaths are linked to obesity in the United States. This fact is highlighted in the African- Americans, the 80% and women and 61% men being obese. The same problem is seen in teens with 46% being over weight. Educational institutes focus more on studies, completely forgetting that physical programmes are also important for not just body growth but to create a sense of sportsmanship & develop skills in an individual. The step would help increase the grade average of students by making them physically & mentally dynamic.
Exercising regularly not only keeps you away from diseases but can also help reduce premature death rates. Eating well and exercising accordingly is the key to good health.
Nowadays teens and kids are hooked to watching television and sitting in front of the computer for long hours limiting their physical activity to just walking to and from school; however in some cases even this single activity is not present. Parents these days are neglecting their children’s food intake and lack of exercise.
It is important that physical exercise be a perpetual part of school life, as this step might motivate children to get the exercise they required in order to stay fit.
“I have often said that our children are the living messages to a future we will never see. We must teach the importance of exercise and healthy living,” (Congressman Cummings American Council for Fitness and Nutrition Launches Healthy Living Initiative for Teens)
HAZARDS OF A DORMANT ROUTINE:
The benefits of exercising are known by all but still as little as only 40% adults in America indulge in any kind of physical activity. A typical American is most at risk of type-2 diabetes, or joints related problems even in the teen years. This fact combined with the food intake that is far above the actual requirement makes for a noxious encodes. The chart below clearly depicts that hazards faced by a number of American individuals.
Physical Inactivity for U.S. Men and Women, 2000 (Percent Inactive)
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion <http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/>
It has been surveyed that the calorie consumption in U.S.A. will continue to increase in the coming years, therefore increasing health related risks in every age-group. Mostly the individuals are most active during their younger years, but of late children and young adults have many things to indulge in at home, like computers, video games, television etc. Parents often don’t realize the danger of their children being overweight in the future, and as a result do not encourage kids to participate in sports and games.
The importance of being physically active; be it a small amount, is clear by all the positive benefits it has upon an individual. Incorporating physical activity in one’s life ensures a healthier and longer life. Just walking for a few miles everyday helps in easing back pain, controls diabetes, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Teens can indulge in active sports like basketball, baseball or tennis to achieve a better lifestyle.
Poor diet intake and lacking physical activity in one’s life is an invitation to becoming overweight and then obese. It is estimated that by the year 2030 the number of senior citizens in U.S.A. will increase to 70 million from 35 million. There fore the government and the health clinics are taking steps to encourage and motivate people to become physically active so as to remove the risk for obesity and related diseases, hence, live a healthy older live.
IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY:
The women are becoming more and more obese as compared to men. If this continues American women would be most at risk of heart problems Children from ages 6- 20 years are not physically active these days, as a result 16% are considered overweight with the Basal Metabolic Index ranging from 25-30. Around 30 % American women and 27% men are obese and the figures are gradually increasing from the past few years. This may create problems in the coming years, thus increasing the medical costs due to aging problems. Exercising diligently improves the lifestyle of individuals, preventing them from many diseases and health related problems due to in activity. Following are some of the advantages of a physically active lifestyle:
It improves the cognitive development in an individual, relieves depression and hypertension.
It lowers the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, back problems and arthritis.
It helps avoid premature deaths, as exercising keeps the body active thus enabling it to fight diseases easily by increasing the immunity levels.
It plays an important part in forming healthy bones and organs by maintaining the body weight.
Exercises that keep the heart rate raised for a persistent length of time improve the heart and respiratory system. Opting for an intense workout that starts from a slow pace helps in improving the endurance. Weight lifting, walking, running and aerobic exercises increase the body flexibility by lengthening the muscles and making them stronger. Walking daily for at least 30 minutes can minimize the arthritic pain and lower cholesterol. Doing household chores like washing the dish, mowing the lawn etc also count as exercises. Performing household tasks can also benefit ones over all health.
Body composition is important to consider for health and managing your weight. Therefore it is important to keep in mind the required nutrients as per individual and prepare and follow a diet plan and exercise regimen that helps in losing the extra weight and the risks to a number of diseases. Young children should be introduced to a physically active regime, as this will ensure they follow the same pattern their entire lives and grow into healthy citizens.
As much role as it plays in an individuals’ wellbeing, exercise is not the only way for controlling weight unless combined with a proper diet intake. More than half of American adult population does not engage in proper physical activities. In fact around 25% are not at all physically energetic. This fact is very much present in the younger generation. Schools are ignoring the importance of physical education. 10% schools in America did not participate at all in any physical activity in the year 2005. The daily sports or game time in schools have dropped to 33% only in the same year, hence the students who were active only in schools missed out on their only activity.
Slowly the government is taking steps to increase activity in schools. These rates are most prominent in girls especially African Americans as compared to boys.
The parents should be more careful of the food intake of children, encouraging them to eat healthier and refrain from too much intake of fizzy drinks, alcohol and sweets, which play a vital role in the increasing of weight and therefore obesity.
Young individuals both girls and boys require an active lifestyle, schools should take initiatives to improve the student’s sedentary lifestyle by introducing extra curricular programmes.
Families should opt for outdoor picnics and set an example by their own behaviour to lead a nutrutionally better and active lifestyle.
Components of Physical Fitness- May 22, 2007 USA.gov Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [28 November 2007]
Hardcastle, Mike, American Council for Fitness and Nutrition Launches Healthy Living Initiative -Jun 30 2004 About.com [28 November 2007] <http://teenadvice.about.com/od/bodyimage/a/blACFN04.htm>
Physical Activity and Older Americans: Benefits and Strategies. June 2002. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control. [28 November 2007] <http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/activity.htm>
Prevalence of regular physical activity among adults–United States, 2001 and 2005.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2007 Nov 23, 56:1209-12
Promotion of Physical Activity among High-School Girls: A Randomized Controlled Trial- Russell R. Pate, Dianne S. Ward, Ruth P. Saunders, Gwen Felton, Rod K. Dishman, and Marsha Dowda American Journal of Public Health- September 2005, Vol. 95, No. 9
Sedentary Lifestyle Hazardous to Your Health- 19 March 2007 [2008 edition] Weight Loss Resources Ltd. 2000-2007 [28 November 2007]
The Importance of Physical Activity May 22, 2007 USA.gov: The U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal Department of Health and Human Services [28 November 2007] ;http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/importance/index.htm;
Weight Gain Trends Across Socio-demographic Groups in the United States
American Journal of Public Health, September 2005, Vol. 95, No. 9
Khoa Dang Truong and Roland Sturm