Health behaviour change through physical activity and sport

Authored by: Stuart J.H. Biddle , Charlie Foster

Routledge Handbook of Sports Development

Print publication date:  December  2010
Online publication date:  December  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415479967
eBook ISBN: 9780203885581
Adobe ISBN: 9781134019717


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There is a t-shirt on sale depicting humans evolving from apes to active hunter-gatherers, and then to sedentary people at a screen. The accompanying caption says ‘something somewhere went terribly wrong’! This captures nicely the irony of contemporary lifestyles and health. In western market economies, we live longer than previous generations and have superior health care systems and medicines than ever before. Yet, at the same time, we have changed the way we live to create different health problems – those of non-communicable disease. These include cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancers and are considered lifestyle diseases. As such, in theory at least, we should be able to reverse such trends and improve physical and mental health, and quality of life, by changing such destructive behaviours.

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