n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - The cost of physical inactivity to a nation : the role of sports medicine and its allied health professionals in preventing a crisis : commentary

Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1015-5163
  • E-ISSN: 2078-516X



Chronic diseases pose both a humanitarian and economic problem to a country. While the prevalence of these diseases (coronary heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc.) is not well documented in Africa, their meteoric rise is well publicised in the USA. It has been estimated that chronic diseases affect 90 million Americans and cost up to $1 trillion in health care and lost production costs. Physical inactivity - defined as less than 30 minutes of activity per week - is often referred to as a modifiable risk of chronic disease. In fact, 28% of preventable deaths alone in 1993 were attributed to physical inactivity or factors in the diet. But just how and why is physical inactivity such a potent risk factor for disease?

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