Tag Archive for 'sedentarietà'

Sedentarity is growing

Seeing people playing sports these days can give the illusion that the percentage of those choosing a physically active lifestyle has increased. Unfortunately, that’s a mistake

Research conducted by Sport England found that overall activity levels have dropped dramatically for both adults and children.

In the UK, where far more sport is played than in Italy, 40% are so sedentary that they are risking their long-term health. About 25% are almost completely inactive, meaning they exercise for less than 30 minutes a week. For children, the situation is even worse; nearly 80% are not active for at least one hour a day.

In non-Covid times, sedentariness results in one in every six deaths, about 100,000 per year and about 5 million globally. If a 20-year-old lives between an office chair and a couch, it could be several decades before associated ailments such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or cancer occur.

The decline of sports for all goes on

Italy: 10 years ago I wrote this blog and I would say that the negative predictions I was making have come true.

This is not a topical issue because it is a constant fact of our daily lives. It is about sport for all. What has been called: sport for everyone. The 80′s and 90′s were those of the increase of active sportsmen and women and the great sports associations reached millions of adherents. It was an incredible success and a great social experience and search for well-being by Italians who had always been a population of sedentary people. Today, however, this drive has been lost, the maximum number of practitioners is in middle school and then decreases steadily: at 20 years old, 40% of girls and 60% of boys do sports, even irregularly; at 30 years old, 30% of women and 50% of men, which at 50 years old are reduced to 20% and 30%.

So what to do?

It is obviously not enough to organize thousands of running races in our cities every Sunday, because this does not increase physical activity. If we don’t want to find ourselves in a few years with a percentage of obese people and growing health problems, it is necessary that those who deal with sports for all get out of the traditional approaches that were so effective more than twenty years ago. We need new ideas, new kinds of collaboration among sports organizations to avoid ending up leading a life divided between home, transportation, school or work, transportation and home. We need to move out of the denunciation phase and into the choice phase.

Italians increasingly fat and sedentary

In Italy, the plague of sedentary life continues to haunt us, we have always been among the least active Europeans in terms of sports and, above all, in 17 years the percentage of practitioners has increased by only 5.7% while sedentary people have decreased by 2%.

There is no real hope that in the next 10 years this trend will be reversed in a positive way, in the absence of any kind of government policy.

The year that has just begun will certainly not be the year of sport, the one that will encourage people to undertake any kind of motor activity on an ongoing basis.

The only data that increases in Italy is the prevalence of overweight and obesity, so much so that if excess weight affects 1 in 4 children, the share almost doubles among adults, reaching 46.1% among people aged 18 years and over. The highest prevalence is found in both genders in the 65-74 age group (61.1%) and, while the majority of men are overweight from the age of 45, for women this occurs after 65.
In the last 30 years, moreover, an increase in the incidence of excess weight equal to 30 percent has been recorded and the role of the territory of origin emerges strongly.

10 reason to be sedentary

In Italy there 25 millions of sedentary.

10 reasons not to practise sport

  1. It’s more fun to stay on Facebook or Instagram or play a video game
  2. I did it for a while, then it was too tiring
  3. I lose weight and dress size, and I had to pay to renew my wardrobe
  4. It’s just a fashion of these days, I’m fine as I am!
  5. I’m so tired of work, I just want to rest
  6. I’m too fat and ashamed
  7. I am no longer of age
  8. I used to meet people who only talked about exercise and sportswear…
  9. If you do this for a while it’s no useful and I’m not a constant person.
  10. My partner is not a sportsman so I prefer to be with him

Italy continues to be a sedentary country

The sport for all in Italy is now considered to be like the air for the prisoners, toreduce a bit the frustrations that plague us. So at school there are no more than two hours a week and the physical education teacher is the least considered in the class councils. Fortunately, there are parents who are willing to pay to ensure that their children are engaged in a club sport. Not to mention the adult to whom it has never been no policy to introduce them to an active approach to physical activity. It’s an old and repetitive speech that has returned to the fore at the conference organized by the Italian Olympic Committee and Istat on the theme “Sport in Italy – Numbers and Context 2014.”  It  was found that the sedentaries are more than 24 million, or nearly 42 % of Italians. Percentage who is an Everest to the South, 56.2%, while in the North down to 31.7% and Centre to 41%. To understand the dramatic nature of these data, I just remember that in Europe, the countries with higher practitioners, according to the Eurobarometer survey on sport and physical activity, are those of Northern Europe: Sweden, where 70% of people say to do gymnastics or sports at least once a week, they are just over Denmark (68%) and Finland (66%) followed by the Netherlands (58%) and Luxembourg (54%).

More than a quarter of European citizens don’t practice any king of physical exercise outside working hours. In Italy, this figure rises to 43%. The latest Eurostat statistics reveal this. According to this dataset, 28% of Europeans in 2017 did not do any kind of exercise in their free time.

Ranked bar chart of share of population who exercise outside work, 2017

Negative side of the list, there are Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cipro, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Italy and Hungary. Even if the sport as a physically active lifestyle, it’s not part of the Italian political agenda, however, we must move from mere complaint to concrete proposals. I refer to some among those made in the USA from 50 scientific associations:

  • Public education programs to ensure that all Americans understand the benefits of healthy lifestyles and how to take advantage of the range of options open to them;
  • Professional education so that health professionals consider physical activity a vital sign like blood pressure and cholesterol levels, to be monitored and tracked regularly;
  • Electronic Medical Records that include fields for physical activity. As health provider systems convert to EMRs, they can easily begin to track exercise as a vital sign;
  • Medical school curricula that give all physicians an adequate grounding in how to counsel patients on healthy lifestyles, and
  • Increased opportunities for underserved populations to enjoy exercise and physical activity, by addressing disparities in the built environment, access to equipment and other barriers.

The deadly risk of the sedentary life

Strong evidence shows that physical inactivity increases the risk of many adverse health conditions, including the world’s major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) of coronary heart disease (CHD), type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers, and shortens life expectancy. Because much of the world’s population is inactive, this presents a major public health problem.

Worldwide, we estimate that physical inactivity is responsible for between 6% and 10% of the major NCDs of CHD, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers. And, this unhealthy behaviour is responsible for 9% of premature mortality, or >5.3 of the 57 million deaths in 2008. By eliminating physical inactivity, life expectancy of the world’s population may be expected to increase by 0.68 years. This makes inactivity comparable to the established risk factors of smoking and obesity, discussed below. It is important to interpret the added years of life correctly: they appear modest because they represent gains in the whole population (comprising inactive and active persons), not among inactive persons who become active. Because all the gain accrues to those who move from inactive to active, the increase in life expectancy among the inactive alone is greater. For perspective, other research conducted in the United States estimated that inactive persons would gain 1.3–3.7 added years from age 50 by becoming active. And, among East Asians, life expectancy from age 30 among the active was 2.6–4.2 years greater, compared with inactive persons.”

  • Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
  • Each year, 15 million people die from a NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; over 85% of these “premature” deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.0 million), respiratory diseases (3.9million), and diabetes (1.6 million).
  • These 4 groups of diseases account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths.
  • Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets all increase the risk of dying from a NCD.
  • Detection, screening and treatment of NCDs, as well as palliative care, are key components of the response to NCDs.

Modifiable behavioural risk factors

Modifiable behaviours, such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol, all increase the risk of NCDs.

  • Tobacco accounts for over 7.2 million deaths every year (including from the effects of exposure to second-hand smoke), and is projected to increase markedly over the coming years.
  • 4.1 million annual deaths have been attributed to excess salt/sodium intake.
  • More than half of the 3.3 million annual deaths attributable to alcohol use are from NCDs, including cancer.
  • 1.6 million deaths annually can be attributed to insufficient physical activity.”

It’s time to sit less!

Is sport for all a lost war?

“Over 6.3 million adults aged 40 to 60 do not achieve 10 minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month and are missing out on important health benefits, according to the Public Health England (PHE10 minutes brisk walking recommendations: evidence summary.

The findings also reveal how lifestyles have changed over time, showing that people in the UK are 20% less active now than they were in the 1960s and on average walk 15 miles less a year than 2 decades ago. The sedentary nature of modern, busy lives makes it difficult for many to find the time for enough exercise to benefit their health.

PHE’s new One You physical activity campaign is encouraging adults to build 10 minutes continuous brisk walking into their day as a simple way to improve their health. This is particularly aimed at those who have an inactive or low activity lifestyle and may find incorporating activity into their day challenging. The ‘Active 10’ app has been developed to show how much brisk walking a person is doing each day and how to incorporate more of it into their lifestyles.

Taking at least 1 brisk 10 minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%. A 10 minute walk can contribute to meeting the CMO’s physical activity guidance of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week. This can lead to health benefits including a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes (by 40%), cardiovascular disease (by 35%), dementia (by 30%) and some cancers (by 20%).

The severity of the current physical inactivity epidemic amongst adults contributes to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK and is costing the NHS over £0.9 billion per year.”

(da gov.uk)

How to win our laziness

19 years have passed from this interview on sedentary lifestyle but I would say the suggested tips to become more active are still valid.

$170 million to fight against sedentary

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans don’t get enough exercise and a growing segment doesn’t get any exercise. Technology has allowed us to get by with less and less physical activity. Seventy-five years ago, it was very difficult to even make a living sitting down, but nowadays more and more people work sedentary jobs where they are seated a big portion of the day—and their bodies are rebelling for it!

  • Diabetes is on the increase and predicted to affect 1 in 3 people by 2050.
  • 70.7% percent of Americans aged 20 and older are overweight
  • 37.9% of Americans aged 20 and older are obese
  • Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in America. One in three deaths is related to heart disease

In 2017, US-NIH will launch a huge study to document in detail exactly what is happening in the body when exercising and prove that exercise is medicine.

The six-year, $170 million study will follow 3,000 sedentary people ranging from children to the elderly as they embark on an exercise program. A control group, who will remain sedentary, will also be tracked for comparison.