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The increase of obesity in people from all ages is becoming rampant. According to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), nearly one-third of the world’s population is obese or overweight, and this has lead to the rise of diabetes and other public health epidemics both in developed and the developing countries.
THE LANCET published a study in May 2014, about the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adults, and discovered that the proportion of adults with a body-mass index (BMI) of 25 kg/m2 or greater increased between 1980 and 2013 from 28.8% to 36.9% in men, and 29.8% to 38.0% in women. Prevalence of overweight also increased substantially in children and adolescents in developed countries, 23.8% in boys and 22.6% in girls. In developing countries, an increase in obesity in children and adolescent from 8.1% to 12.9% in boys and 8.4% to 13.4% in girls was noted.
Patients visit their primary care physicians (PCP) only to get temporary relief: prescription for pain or maintenance medicines for their existing health issues. In some countries, PCPs are more concentrated on reaching their commission quotas, and fail to focus on addressing the real health issues of their patients. On the other hand, getting temporary relief from the pain that majority of these patients experience is their immediate concern, not digging to know the root cause. Why? Because people of this generation are busy in their own preoccupations, they are more focused on their respective works and activities, to earn more, to live the lifestyle they so desire, not knowing that they are compromising their state of health.
Technology advancement is one of the biggest factor why people tend to become sedentary, also the main reason why human life span is becoming shorter and shorter these days. As physical therapists, we should encourage our patients to move and be more active, and depend less on prescriptive drugs to alleviate their pains. It is our duty and responsibility to instill in them the benefits of exercise.
Some patients argue that they are active at work and there is no need for exercises after a long day, rather they should rest and recharge themselves. According to the study of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, mood in the work place improves when an employee exercise prior going to work, and Performance Indicators were higher on exercise days versus non-exercise days. Positive changes in performance outcomes were almost exclusively linked to changes in mood. Inductive analysis of focus groups revealed 13 (of 17) themes exhibiting positive outcomes.
Exercise is not only designed for adults but also a good start for children to get an active lifestyle as they grow up. According to the statistics conducted by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, one in three children are physically active every day. They spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (TV, Videogames, Computer). This explains why the rise in the case of diabetes in children and other diseases have become rampant. We need to educate and encourage the young generation to be more active and engage them in all forms of sporting activities. Even as little as taking your kids to playground or parks could have a big impact on their health and well being.
Also, prescribing exercises to our patients can improve their immune system, decrease the risk in developing type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure, strengthen the cardiovascular system, decrease child obesity, develop strong bones and muscle structure, and ultimately prolong their life-span. Furthermore, exercise enhances the brains metabolism, thereby improving mental health. Fun exercises for children and adults helps the body to inhibit the production of harmful hormones and facilitate the production of hormones that act as neurotransmitters for establishing new memories. It also gives longer attention span, concentration, abstract thinking, and eliminates anxiety, depressions and bad moods.
Opinions expressed by physiogramworld contributors are their own.