Physical Activity and Health: The Evidence Explained

Physical Activity and Health: The Evidence Explained

Physical Activity and Health: The Evidence Explained

Physical Activity and Health: The Evidence Explained

Synopsis

This timely and detailed textbook deals exclusively with the benefits of physical activity in the prevention and treatment of various health conditions which are of growing concern worldwide. In each chapter the authors describe the cause of the conditions and then discuss the role of physical activity in its prevention or improvement, drawing on research literature to help students evaluate the quality and extent of this. Hazards and benefits of exercise are discussed with critical appraisal of current recommendations for physical activity. The emphasis throughout is on topics relating to major health issues in western societies - cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, the insulin resistance syndrome, osteoporosis - also including new and developing research areas. Designed to be user-friendly, this book includes: * chapter overviews and summaries plus information boxes * study activities and tasks for self evaluation * suggested further reading including landmark papers * glossary of key terms, bibliography and extensive index * over one hundred supporting tables, figures, examples and plates. Physical Activity and Health will appeal to degree-level students of sport and exercise science as well as to students in related areas such as medicine, public health, physiotherapy, nursing and nutrition, worldwide.

Excerpt

The aim of this book is to introduce students, particularly those studying exercise science, to the research evidence that links physical activity to a range of health outcomes that are major public concerns. In doing this, we also seek to develop in students an understanding of the process of evaluation of scientific evidence. This is important, not least because new observations in our field are often rapidly disseminated through the media, with little critical comment. In writing the book, we have drawn selectively on the vast and rapidly increasing research literature on physical activity and health, rather than attempting at comprehensive reviews of each topic.

We begin by describing the prevalence of physical inactivity and low fitness in different populations and identifying current trends that underline the burden of ill health associated with sedentary living. Our experience in teaching is that students may not be familiar with all the different types of research evidence we later refer to and so these are discussed in a chapter entitled 'The nature of the evidence'. Thereafter, we have adopted a consistent approach to each topic. Information on the prevalence and aetiology of a condition precedes discussion of the extent and quality of the evidence that links a particular condition with physical inactivity and/or low fitness. The issue of the relationship between the 'dose' of activity and its effects is addressed where there is evidence. Where possible, we have also attempted to answer the question 'Are the associations found in epidemiological studies biologically plausible?' and to indicate new and developing research areas. While most of the text is concerned with the putative role of physical activity and prevention, a chapter is also included on its important therapeutic role. Evidence related to the hazards of exercise is dealt with, as a prelude to the final chapter on public health. Here we describe and comment critically on current recommendations for physical activity and propose some priorities.

Our book is written primarily for students of exercise science but we hope that it will also attract readers from the fields of public health, health promotion and professions allied to medicine. Whatever your personal perspective, we hope that you will find it interesting.

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