A sedentary lifestyle represents the reverse side of what it means to keep in constant physical activity; On the one hand, the first is the cause of suffering a large number of diseases, the other leads us to maintain better levels of health and well-being.
At least a quarter of the world’s adult population, some 1.4 billion people, are in danger of suffering from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and cancer due to their sedentary habits, as reflected in a study by the World Organization of health.
According to the WHO, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main factors of premature death worldwide because it increases the risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Through physical exercise, a better state of the muscle and cardiorespiratory health, better bone health, greater weight control and a lower risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and various types of cancer can be achieved.
Consequences of the sedentary lifestyle
* Increased risk of overweight and obesity
* Low emotional states
* More chances of heart disease
* Worsening menopause
* Increases the risk of breast and colon cancer
* Trouble sleeping
The sedentary situation in Costa Rica
Costa Rica, as in most countries of the Americas and Europe, presents high levels of a sedentary lifestyle, demonstrated in different studies with school, adolescent and adult populations in our country. Which is associated with the changes produced by the evolution of societies, the greater technological development, and automation in different areas of daily life, at work, at home, in mobilization and recreation?
65% of people living in the country are inactive or sedentary, a situation that can generate cases of obesity and stress that lead to other conditions mentioned above.
Dr. Xinia Fernández Rojas, a professor at the School of Nutrition of the UCR, on one occasion clarified that a sedentary lifestyle is not exclusive to overweight people since it is a common evil among people of any nutritional status.
This specialist said that in general, a sedentary lifestyle is synonymous with physical inactivity, which people use different means to do their daily activities such as using an elevator instead of climbing stands, using buses and cars instead of walking, watching television on instead of exercising
According to studies carried out by WHO during 2018, Costa Rica is the sixth most sedentary country in the world. 46.1% of Ticos (38% of men and 54% of women) do not do the physical activity necessary to stay healthy. On the list, we are only surpassed by Kuwait (a country with a 67% sedentary lifestyle), Samoa. Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Iraq. We are also well above the world average of 27.5% 823% in the case of men and 32% in women). That figure places the country as the second continent with the largest sedentary population, behind Brazil.
Sedentarism decreases in Costa Rica, but even its levels are high
A survey conducted by Cardiovascular Risk Factors of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund indicates that physical inactivity increased from 50.9 in 2010 to 36.1 in 2018.
Roy Wong McClure, a CCSS epidemiologist, and coordinator of the study explained that the greatest reduction in sedentary lifestyle was achieved by the female population since, in 2010, 63% of that population reported that condition and in 2018, that indicator stood at 41.4 %. On the other hand, the men went from 38.6% to 30.8%.
However, these results are not enough since according to the criteria of the World Health Organization (WHO), a town can be considered with a good level of physical activity when the sedentary population is 20% or less.
In the case of the CCSS report, there is hope to improve, as the downward trend began in 2014 and remains. Last year’s survey involved 4,166 people over 19 years old, has a maximum margin of error of 5% and was sampled in six strata of the population, three age groups, and both sexes.
The Ticos have become aware of the importance of physical activity, which will allow them to progressively slow down the impact of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, said the specialist.
It is necessary to understand the seriousness of the great damage that sedentary people do to humanity. Education about physical activity must be developed from childhood, it is necessary to sow awareness and focus on maintaining an active life. “If we feel love for life, let’s not let a sedentary lifestyle take spaces in our lives.”