Physical Inactivity among Indians
- A coalescence of anthropological estimations of Homo sapiens’ phenotypes in the late Paleolithic era 10,000 years ago, with Darwinian natural selection synergized with Neel’s idea of the so-called thrifty gene suggests that humans inherited genes that were evolved to support a physically active lifestyle.1
- The advent of modernization has resulted in more sedentary lifestyles and occupations requiring less energy expenditure.
- Physical inactivity in sedentary societies directly contributes to at least 20 of the most deadly chronic disorders.1 The magnitude of risk from physical inactivity is similar to high cholesterol (>240 mg/dl) tobacco use (2 packets of cigarettes) or high blood pressure.2
- Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for obesity, abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).3 Nearly a quarter of all global coronary artery disease e (CAD ) is related to physical inactivity.4 Approximately 3.2 million deaths to deaths each year is attributed to insufficient physical activity.
- Sudden bursts of moderate to intense physical activity ─ such as jogging or having sex ─ significantly increase the risk of having a heart attack, or sudden cardiac death especially in people who do not get regular exercise.
- Although such activities increase the relative risk 3-fold the absolute risk is very small and transient (1-2 hours). For every 10,000 people, each individual session of physical or sexual activity per week can be associated with an increase of 1 to 2 cases of heart attack or sudden cardiac death per year.5
- Habitual activity levels significantly reduce risk of heart attack and sudden death resulting from episodic physical and sexual activity by 30-40%.5
- Numerous studies have documented reduced physical activity among South Asians in the UK compared with the Europids especially in children and girls with the notable exception in the CADI Study.6-23
- Men who were physically fit in their 40s and maintained that fitness level for a decade reduced their risk of all-cause death by 30% compared with men who were flabby at 40. During more than 11 years of follow-up, those who maintained their baseline fitness levels had a 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) death, while those who improved their fitness had a 40% and 44% lower risk of all-cause and CVD death, respectively, compared with those who remained unfit.24
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23. Khan SN, Grace SL, Oh P, et al. A comparison of physical activity environments between South Asians and white Caucasians with coronary heart disease. Ethn Dis. Autumn 2010;20(4):390-395.
24. Lee DC, Sui X, Artero EG, et al. Long-term effects of changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and body mass index on all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in men: the aerobics center longitudinal study. Circulation. Dec 6 2011;124(23):2483-2490.