sedentary death syndrome
America's alarming girth growth, say Blair and numerous other health
experts, is directly related to "physical activity being engineered out of
daily life." ... Although numerous studies have demonstrated that lifestyle
activities, such as climbing stairs and parking in the farthest space, can
provide health benefits similar to those gained in a gym workout, Blair
says our society has created a "toxic environment" that discourages
movement. Streets are often too dangerous for pedestrians to cross,
stairwells are frequently hidden, and parks in some areas are unsafe.
Foreyt and Blair are among a growing number of health experts calling for
public health initiatives to help Americans meet the U.S. surgeon general's
recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days.
"Restoring physical activity into our daily routine represents a critical
goal," says pediatrician William Dietz, director of the division of
nutrition and physical activity at the federal Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention in Atlanta. "This may involve changes as mundane as
improving the location and appearance of stairwells or as complex as the
redesign of communities."
"Physical inactivity costs America more than $150 billion a year," says
Frank Booth, a physiologist at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and
executive director of Researchers Against Inactivity-Related Disorders
(www.ridinactivity.org), a 2-year-old group of more than 300 health
scientists and educators from around the country who have "declared war on
Booth has coined the term "sedentary death syndrome," or SeDS, to help
people recognize that a major cause of death in the U.S. is sedentary
living. He plans to travel to Capitol Hill this spring to lobby for
legislation and funding to help activate sedentary Americans.
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