fitness defined with respect to human health and sustainability?
We have chosen two indicators of community fitness to examine at this
stage: physical activity levels and obesity rates. In addition, although
diabetes is considered a non-communicable disease, we have included
it in our discussion of fitness because of its high correlation to obesity.
While other indicators of fitness such as health behavior (i.e. smoking
and drug use) may prove important in determining sustainability of a
human population, diabetes, obesity and physical activity were chosen
due to their interdependence on one another and availability of data.
is a medical condition characterized by the body's inability to produce
or use insulin, which is a hormone necessary for the body's metabolism.
Obesity is a condition of excess body fat and is determined by calculating
one's body mass index (BMI). A person with a BMI of greater than 29.9
is considered obese. Physical activity includes many types of physical
exercise, all of which result in cardiovascular, endurance and numerous
other health benefits.
obesity be considered a factor in assessing the sustainability of a
of obesity within a community not only indicates poor nutritional and
physical fitness habits among a population, but it also adversely affects
overall economic vitality. A report commissioned by Be Active North
Carolina has cited increasing rates of obesity among adults have cost
North Carolina $24.1 billion dollars a year due to increased medical
costs, lost worker productivity, and increased workers' compensation
claims. The price tag for obesity among children has cost the state
over $38 million dollars a year (see "Group
says state is paying heavy price for obesity, sloth", Fitness References).
The costs for obesity are also projected to increase by 50% by 2008,
given current nutritional and fitness trends. Thus, in order to combat
these trends and prevent further risks to health and economic vitality,
Be Active North Carolina has advocated for improved physical fitness
education in public schools, initiation of fitness programs among employers,
and the promotion of state and initiatives and policies emphasizing
health and fitness.
has also indicated that obesity is more prevalent among lower income
populations, mainly due to lack of nutritional knowledge and the relative
cheapness and accessibility of foods with high sugar and fat contents,
namely "fast foods". (See "Eat
Smart, Move More... North Carolina", Fitness References)
Thus, not only does the prevalence of obesity reflect the physical health
of a community, it can also allude to underlying issues dealing with
social justice and education.
physical activity be considered a factor in assessing the sustainability
of a community?
activity, along with a healthy diet, is the primary determinant of fitness
with respect to diabetes and obesity. While other behavioral choices
have an influence, a sedentary lifestyle will almost assuredly lead
to obesity given the dietary patterns of our society, which can result
in the development of obesity-linked disorders, including Type II diabetes.
diabetes, obesity and physical activity related with respect to human
health and sustainability?
of rates of obesity, diabetes, and amount of physical activity are interrelated
indicators of sustainability. Physical activity, along with other fitness
components such as diet, has a direct influence upon obesity and diabetes
and, in turn, the health problems associated with these conditions.
Diabetes, obesity, and physical activity rates indicate the presence
or absence of a sustainable mind-set within a community. This mind-set
can also be demonstrated by the availability and accessibility of bike
lanes, sidewalks, and public parks within a community, which promote
physical activity and reduce rates of obesity and Type II Diabetes.
These design features of a community promote decreased use of vehicles
within the community, which correlates with decreased levels of air
emissions and miles of paved roads. Public parks and community recreation
centers not only promote physical activity, but also provide a social
outlet for members of a community. If these centers are widely available
to many members within a diverse demographic scale, then they can also
promote social justice. Furthermore, these indicators could provide
insight into primary and secondary educational systems, with emphasis
on physical and nutritional education. Through the implementation of
healthy meals, adequate funding for physical and nutritional education
classes and increased emphasis on student recreational activities and
sports teams, schools could effectively promote a healthy and sustainable