By now we’ve all heard of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but did you know that there is a NEW syndrome, Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS)? Yep.
In 2004 the CDC published the finding that actual deaths from poor diet and physical inactivity increased by 1/3 from 300,000 to 400,000 individuals annually from 1990 to 2000 (Mokdad et al., 2004). Chakravarthy and Booth, 2003, stated that physical inactivity leads to an increased prevalence of over 25 chronic diseases, including heart disease. Further, the actual cause of death is not necessarily obesity, heart disease, or Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), but often the modifiable behavioral risk factors that lead to the onset of disease.
It is well known and accepted that there are three modifiable lifestyle risk factors which are the main causes of most chronic diseases: smoking, poor diet, and physical inactivity. According to the article that prompted this post, “Sedentary Death Syndrome” (Lees, S.J.; and Booth, F.W. (2004). Sedentary death syndrome. Can. J. Appl. Physiol. 29(4): 447-460.), “Inactivity is the cause of many chronic diseases.”
The article goes on to propose that, “Despite the fact that these risk factors are largely within the control of individuals in developed nations, there is an overwhelming prevalence of poor lifestyle choices in these populations” (emphasis added by BigZig). We’ve all heard or read the CDC’s recommendations of 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. Keep in mind, this is the MINIMUM RECOMMENDATION. It has been further shown that individuals who exercise MORE than the minimum have a 30% reduced risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, and T2D (Hu et al., 1999;2000; Manson et al., 1999).
The document focuses on relating inactivity to T2D, positing that it is “a largely human-made worldwide epidemic.” According to Lees and Booth, data shows that roughly 90% of T2D is largely preventable by a physically active lifestyle. I’m going to be bold here and copy an entire paragraph from Lees’ and Booth’s article, because there’s really no way that I can accurately paraphrase the contents (again, emphasis added by BigZig):
” Regular physical activity is required to maintain optimal insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Physically trained individuals have a markedly blunted insulin response to a glucose load and yet have normal plasma glucose concentration at rest (Seals et al., 1984). However, the residual effects of the last bouts of exercise have been shown to play an important role in the training adaptation. Heath et al., (1983) found that when 8 well-trained subjects stopped training for 10 days, their VO2max, estimated percent of body fat, and body weight did not change. The maximum rise in plasma insulin concentration in response to a 100g oral glucose load was 100% higher after 10 days without exercise than when they were exercising regularly. Despite the increased insulin levels, blood glucose concentrations were higher after 10 days without exercise than when they were exercising regularly. Amazingly, one bout of exercise after 11 days without exercise almost returned the subjects’ insulin and glucose responses to an oral 100g glucose load to the initial “trained” value.”
Based on this, it could be concluded that “insulin resistance and glucose intolerance are an inevitable consequence of physical inactivity” and that it “is in the best interest of everyone to focus on disease prevention to both alleviate the burden of chronic disease on the public health system and to improve the quality of life in the world’s population” (Lees and Booth).
Well, yes. Especially the second part, “improve the quality of life.” Who’s with me?