The Built Environment, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Exploring Burdens on Vulnerable U.S. Populations

Authored by: Igor Vojnovic , Zeenat Kotval-K , Jieun Lee , Jeanette Eckert , Jiang Chang , Wei Liu , Xiaomeng Li , Arika Ligmann-Zielinska

Handbook of Global Urban Health

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  May  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138206250
eBook ISBN: 9781315465456
Adobe ISBN:


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In 1996, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) published the first report of the Surgeon General on physical activity and health. It was one of the earliest documents to recognize the links between sedentary lifestyles, overweight, obesity, and increased mortality rates in America. In the opening pages of Physical Activity and Health, then acting Surgeon General Dr. Audrey F. Manley states:

Scientists and doctors have known for years that substantial benefits can be gained from regular physical activity . . . Because physical activity is so directly related to preventing disease and premature death and to maintaining a high quality of life, we must accord it the same level of attention that we give other important public health practices that affect the entire nation. Physical activity thus joins the front ranks of essential health objectives, such as sound nutrition, the use of seat belts, and the adverse health effects of tobacco.

(USDHHS 1996, p. v)

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