Sport and health

Sport and health

Proton Pharma Sport and health

A number of key themes related to sport and health are then explored in more detail:

  • The health benefits of sport and physical activity
  • Sport, physical activity, and risk factors for major diseases
  • Tackling HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases through sport
  • Practical implications for sport for HIV prevention programs
  • Sport and public health campaigns.

Each sub-section contains a list of recommended readings for those who wish to delve deeper into the topic and these publications are available to download.

A downloadable bibliography of recommended readings and further resources is also included of sources that are not available online but may be accessed through your local library.

Sport and health are wellbeings

During recent decades, there has been a progressive decline in the level of physical activity in people’s daily lives in developed countries. For a majority of people, little physical effort is involved anymore in their work, domestic chores, transportation, and leisure. Whilst specific health risks differ between countries and regions, the fact remains that physical inactivity is a major risk factor for most common non-communicable diseases and physical activity can counteract many of the ill effects of inactivity.

The health benefits of sport and physical activity

Although research interest on physical activity and health dates back to the 1950s, the breakthrough in the scientific evidence on health benefits of physical activity largely took place during the 1980s and 1990s. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence on the positive effects of sport and physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. The positive, direct effects of engaging in regular physical activity are particularly apparent in the prevention of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression, and osteoporosis.

Sport, physical activity, and risk factors for major diseases

An understanding of the most prevalent diseases and associated risk factors is crucial to conceptualize the role of sport in health prevention and promotion. In developing countries, sport is widely used as a tool to educate individuals and communities on the risk factors associated with HIV/AIDS. Whilst HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases continue to affect millions of people around the world, there is a significant increase in the global burden of non-communicable diseases related to lifestyle changes in physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, and tobacco use.

Tackling HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases through sport

The World Bank states that communicable diseases are the largest causes of child deaths in the world and are significant causes of preventable deaths among adults in the developing world. Together they claim more than an estimated 15 million lives a year, with over 80% of these deaths occurring in developing countries.

Practical implications of sport-for-health programming

The optimal combination of type, frequency, and intensity of physical activity for different populations is not known, yet there is a clear consensus that regular physical activity of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity is recommended for a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to select activities with cultural relevance for individuals.

Sport and Health Public Campaigns

In 2002, the World Health Organisation deemed ‘Physical Activity’ the theme of World Health Day. Since that time, April 6th is celebrated as the World Day for Physical Activity. This is an excellent example of a global initiative aimed at promoting health through physical activity across populations.

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