The  society  of  today  makes  it  challenging  to  maintain a  healthy  body weight  due  to  factors  such  as  sedentary  lifestyles  and  unhealthy  diets and  some  term  it  an  “obesogenic”  environment.

Sedentary  lifestyle  is  a  group  of  individual  behaviours  where  sitting  or lying  is  the  dominant  mode  of  posture  and  energy  expenditure  is  very low.

Sedentary  behaviours  include  screen-time  (TV  viewing, computer  use), motorised transport,  and  sitting  to  read,  work, talk,  listen  to  music  etc.  

In adults, sedentary  behaviour  are associated  with  occupation:   banking, book keeping, accounting, clerical job,  call centre positions,  patient attendance, taxi  and  bus  drivers,  seamstress,  forklift  operators and  many  more.

In November 2013, I conducted a research, aimed at finding the  knowledge  of  health  problems  related  to  modifiable  risk factors  such  as  overweight,  obesity  and  sedentary  lifestyle among  100  market  women. 

Although the sample size was small, the results were close to and consistent with data previously recorded. About 80% of the respondents had knowledge of the health problems related to overweight and obesity especially coupled with sedentary lifestyle but majority hardly engaged in intentional physical activity.

About 53% rather enjoyed high calorie food like flavoured, coloured drinks etc which have little nutritional value instead of fruits. Close  to  83%  of  the  respondents  were  overweight  or  obese  and about  70%  of  the  obese  individuals  were  already  diagnosed  with chronic  non- communicable  diseases  such  as  hypertension,  diabetes and various forms of joint  problems.

Most have been in  business for 10 years or more and sit for longer hours to sell. Many were also of the  apple  or  pear  body  type which  are important  risk  factors  for  the disease  conditions  aforementioned.

Since it  was not a longitudinal  or cohort  study ,  the  cause of  the  hypertension,  diabetes  and  arthritis, easily  attributable  to overweight  and  obesity  cannot  be  inferred  but  there  may  be  a  strong link.

Notes  from  World Health Organization (WHO)  global  recommendations  on  physical activity  for  health

Physical  inactivity  has  been  identified  as  the  fourth  leading  risk  factor for  global  mortality  which is  about  6%  of  deaths  globally  and  this follows high blood pressure (13%), tobacco use (9%) and diabetes mellitus or high blood glucose (6%).  Levels of physical  inactivity are rising  in many countries with  major implications for the  general health of people  worldwide and  for  the prevalence of chronic non-communicable diseases(NCDs) such as stroke , diabetes  and hypertension.

Non-communicable diseases now account for nearly half of the overall global burden of disease and currently it is estimated that of every 10 deaths, 6 are attributable to non-communicable conditions.

Approximately 21–25% of breast and colon cancer burden, 27% of diabetes  and  approximately  30%  of  ischaemic  heart  disease(like angina,  etc)  burden are  believed  to  be  caused  by  physical  inactivity .

Many low- and middle-income countries are beginning to suffer the double  burden  of  communicable  and  non-communicable  diseases, and  health  systems  in  these  countries  now  have  to  cope  with the additional  costs  of  treating  both.

It is proven  that participation  in regular physical activity reduces the  risk  of coronary heart disease and  stroke,  colon  cancer ,  breast  cancer  and  depression.

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