HHS highlights benefits of activity

September 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

The Department of Health and Human Services has released a new report that underscores the importance of physical activity in preventing disease.

The Department of Health and Human Services has released a new report that underscores the importance of physical activity in preventing disease and outlines the physical and financial costs of a sedentary lifestyle, including a cost of $117 billion annually associated with overweight and obesity.

The report, which pulls together data from various studies and scientific sources, states that 300,000 people die each year from diseases and health conditions related to a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits, nearly as many as those who die from smoking. The HHS report particularly highlights the role of inactivity in the onset of diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Preventable illness

According to the report, millions of Americans suffer from chronic illnesses that can be prevented or improved through regular physical activity: 12.6 million people have coronary heart disease; 1.1 million people suffer from a heart attack each year; and nearly 17 million people have diabetes, of which 90% to 95% have type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity and physical inactivity. In addition, nearly 50 million adults between the ages of 20 and 74 are obese, and more than 108 million adults are either obese or overweight.

"We need to stop making good health a fad in America and make it a way of life. We need to make it fun and achievable," HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said. "At HHS, we're working to prevent disease by showing people how to get active in an enjoyable and attainable manner." PR

Related Content:

News