More leading sedentary life, professor says

November 07, 2013 | Laura Hayes '16, Contributing Writer

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

According to a recent study by the World Health Organization the top two risks for mortality in the world are high blood pressure and tobacco use. High blood pressure is responsible 13 percent of deaths globally and nine percent can be linked to tobacco use.

The third and fourth leading causes may surprise you.

Diabetes and lack of physical activity can each be attributed to about six percent of global deaths each year and are ranked third and fourth respectively.

In a wide-ranging lecture last Wednesday titled “Sports and Society” Curt Hamakawa, an associate professor of sport management at Western New England University and former official of the United States Olympic Committee, said the number of inactive people is growing each year.

Those who lead inactive lives have an increased risk of becoming obese and developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Hamakawa attributed this to the widespread neglect of obesity as a health problem and more people in developed countries living sedentary lifestyles.

Hamakawa said culture plays a prominent role in society’s propensity for physical activity and that a cultural shift is needed to encourage more people to adopt healthier lifestyles.

During a time when many seek instant gratification, the professor said we need to take a long view of health and embrace a disciplined lifestyle that includes physical activity, eating right and getting plenty of rest. The government, he said, could help by promoting recreation programs and educational programs that encourage people to make healthy choices.

Another theme of the lecture was the marketability of professional sports players and how companies harness the power of athlete celebrities for profits.

Hamakawa discussed the use of the Olympics in marketing various products through sponsorships. In addition, he unveiled conflicting messages between the various sponsors of the Olympics such as fast food chains and the ideals that the event promotes.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)