Physical Activity Essay Example
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Invisible Assassin of Humanity
Physical Activity Essay: Introduction
With the help of technology, the ease of living came along as a benefit. Although this is a great advancement for humankind, we fail to see the hidden dangers behind easy-living. Of course, the danger is physical inactivity and the change in eating habits. That is, machinery and swiftness itself changed the food industry faster than we could’ve adapted to it. At first, we all believed that time is money, and it was. Yet, we did not make the right choice between health and time. Thus, for the most part, people have chosen time over their own health. Right now, as a chain reaction, the wrong decision has made physical inactivity and bad eating habits a global public health problem, even recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Before examining the details, it is vital to know the statistics behind this major problem. Poor eating habits kill millions of people globally, and one-fifth of the population dies because of a disease caused by poor diet (“Poor Diet,” n.d.). It is fair to say that salt, sugar, and cholesterol is as deadly as a gun. Of course, most of the time, with poor diet, comes physical inactivity. Therefore, one can argue that these two problems are connected to each other. Physical inactivity can be said to be the reason for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and many other deadly diseases while not counting the ladder diseases such as obesity, hypertension, and mental health diseases. Unfortunately, more than 80% of teens do not meet the global criteria of the WHO (NCDs, 2018). In many studies, this high number of inactivity is connected to the level of technology, and the usage of it.
The reason I have chosen this topic is that for other problems that we globally face, there are ways we can counter the problem collectively, yet with the topic of eating habits and inactivity, the final answer is always left off to the person. This means that whatever solution we find if people do not change their lifestyles to a certain degree, the threat cannot be stopped, and looking at the way things turned out for the last couple of decades, it doesn’t look like we are making progress as a whole. It has become common sense now that eating healthier and exercising daily benefits our body massively, yet this common sense did not help reduce the number of obese people or people who are at risk of having heart attacks. Just like smoking, even though there are ads that say smoking kills on top of the package, people still smoke, and surprisingly, according to the NHS.uk, lack of exercise is as deadly as smoking (NCDs, 2018). Right now, social media plays a big role in shaping people’s lifestyles as people look up to influencers who are, most of the time, eating healthy and exercising daily while showing these routines to their followers. This deadly problem affects all of us, and we should be aware of it. I have taken sources from NHS.uk, studies from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, thelancet.com, doi.org, and who.int. In this paper, my aim is to examine these studies and statistics and look at what we are currently doing to prevent this problem from accelerating further into new generations.
Apart from physical harm, these problems create mental problems around the globe, and these mental problems create their counterparts, such as the body positivity movement, which looks okay in the short-run but can be very dangerous in the long term. Therefore, it is important to mention these movements. I believe that looking at the main issues is not enough, so one must also look at the problems caused by the main problem to find a suitable solution. Bad eating habits and inactivity started in an era without social media but gained speed as a snowball effect with the help of the internet (. The solution, on the other hand, is not going to be easy. Just like how hard it is to reduce the number of smokers, it will be just as hard to change people’s living styles. It is fair to say that just an incentive will not be enough. A more efficient solution that will be applicable both in real life and in social media must be found to create a bigger dent on this problem.
Lack of Exercise as Deadly as Smoking
The correlation between smoking and exercise above is correlated with this given research. International academic researchers grouped up for the Lancet Physical Activity Series Working Group and did the research over the world (Booth et al., 2012). It is important to know that the main objective of this study was not to see if inactivity is as deadly as smoking. The comparison arises from looking at the annual death toll. The research was done by estimating the risk factor of inactivity on people with various diseases. The primary focus of the study was diabetes, life expectancy, breast and colon cancer, and coronary heart disease. The recommendation for physical activeness is divided into age groups such as 5-17, 18-64, and 65+. According to the results, physical activity is connected with coronary heart disease by 6%, type 2 diabetes by %7, breast, and colon cancer by 10%, and with premature deaths by 9% (Booth et al., 2012). These numbers accumulate to 5.3 million deaths compared with the number of 57 million deaths worldwide in 2008. Reducing inactivity by just 10% can prevent 533,000 deaths. Smoking caused around 5 million deaths in 2000; thus, when the numbers are compared, the fatality of both smoking and inactivity is very close.
Poor Eating Habits Harm Millions Globally
Another study in The Lancet journal showed us that we are consuming more than recommended in any case, imaginable (Booth et al., 2012). The reason I have included this study along with others is that while this study is showing us the dangers of bad eating habits, it is also showing us what we are doing wrong. Before going into details, it is essential to know that this danger is bigger than any other risk factor causing death. The number in 2019 is a whopping 11 million global deaths annually. More than double of physical inactivity, which is, most of the times, connected with poor eating habits. According to this study; globally, sugary drinks are consumed more than 11 times the recommended amount, salt is consumed 86% more than the safe amount, and red meat is consumed 18% more while healthier foods are mostly overlooked by people and not given enough place to benefit the person (“Poor Eating Habits,” n.d.). These numbers are massively connected with the economic situation of families and individuals as fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are comparably more expensive than unhealthier choices. This leads to people not consuming recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately, our eating habits changed with time. In history, we see the richer class consuming more meat and sugar, but the tables have changed. Right now, mostly celebrities or rich people are eating healthy while comparably poorer households suffer from a poor diet.
Lack of Exercise is a Major Cause of Chronic Diseases
In this study conducted by Frank W. Booth and his colleagues, it was found that physical inactivity is the primary cause of most chronic diseases (2012). To give some examples, this problem causes accelerated biological aging/premature death, obesity, insulin resistance, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes, stroke, cognitive dysfunction, heart failure, etc. The found result shows that when not practicing any activity, the body adapts to that state, and thus, chronic diseases start to build up in the body. If the individual continues the same lifestyle, it will decrease the quality of life and massively decrease the total years of life. Surprisingly, engaging in physical activities can delay or even prevent chronic diseases. This means that these diseases might not be seen as inevitable and incurable at different times of life. The study is intrinsic evidence that should be enough to change people’s minds. I believe the reason the number of people neglecting this problem increases because we often feel invincible when we are young and do not realize things until it is too late. This is comparable to lifetime smokers’ advice. If we talk to anyone who is currently smoking or quit years ago, he/she will tell the person to never stop and remind the person about the consequences of making a bad life decision like that.
Physical Inactivity: A Global Public Health Problem
According to the World Health Organization, a quarter of adults and around 80% of adolescents do not meet the global recommendations on physical activity. Yet, one thing that is absent in other researches is mentioned here, that is, culture. As expected, culture is the most important factor that affects eating habits. If one were to grow up in an environment where everyone around him/her was eating more than recommended, he/she would grow up to do the same. According to the statistics, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Americas have the crown for having the least amount of physical activity, even up to 80% of the adult subpopulations in some cases (“Poor Eating Habits,” n.d.). We can see the effect of culture when we look at the South-East Asia region where physical inactivity is the lowest. In a culture where most of the population has to do physical work to earn a living, it is hard to see cases of the above-mentioned chronic diseases. In addition, usage of motor vehicles also contributes to the issue as it reduces the amount of time people walk or cycle to destinations.
Poor Diet Biggest Risk Factor for Early Deaths Worldwide
This research paper is comparably shorter as I would only like to support my claim that culture affects any side of life imaginable. In the list of diet-related deaths, Israel stays at the bottom with just 89 deaths per 100,000 people, while Uzbekistan is in first place with 892 deaths per 100,000 (“Poor Diet,” n.d.). The difference between these two given cultures is massive in terms of both diet and physical activity. In an environment where religion strictly affects eating habits, diet-related deaths are comparably lower. Yet it is important to note that as religions differ from each other, these numbers differ accordingly.
Physical Activity Essay: Conclusion
All the information given above is very easy to comprehend and, as I have already mentioned, has become common sense already. Yet this is not enough for people to make a change in their lives. Preventing these problems must also require us to change cultures to a slight degree for the greater good. Of course, this is not an easy task, and even in some cases, an impossible task. Yet, the importance of these numbers is undeniable. Humanity is killing itself purposely. Unfortunately, we are looking at things from the wrong window.
These problems create issues that show themselves later in life when it is too late to change anything, and because we feel invincible during our youth, we often ignore these problems while they are building up. The road of changing culture starts at changing the mindset. The recent body-positivity movement tells people to be okay with their bodies as they are beautiful in any way, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Yet, our bodies are more important than just being beautiful. When we reach a certain point in life, loving our bodies will not prevent chronic diseases. Thus, movements such as body-positivity should be changed in order to comply with the most efficient and healthy way possible. Youth should be encouraged to work out and eat healthily. If one wants to love his/her body, the best way to do it is to look after his/her body in every way imaginable. Living healthy is loving your body, and unless we act as soon as possible, the numbers will keep on growing with its current state of a snowball, and we will face consequences about which we will not be able to do anything.
Booth, F. W., Roberts, C. K., & Laye, M. J. (2012, April). Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases.
NCDs | Physical Inactivity: a global public health problem. (2018, September 4).
Poor diet biggest risk factor for early deaths worldwide. (n.d.). Medicalnewstoday.com
Poor eating habits killing millions globally, study says: DW: 04.04.2019. (n.d.). Deutsche Welle
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