Open a recently published article or report on health, and you'll likely find the same problem discussed in the opening paragraphs: physical inactivity and chronic disease are ongoing epidemics across many parts of the world.
This isn’t a new problem, and the approaches taken over the last few decades haven’t been enough to move the dial. We need new approaches, and population health is one such promising approach. In this article, we’ll look at what population health is and what role the fitness industry can play in this new approach to the physical inactivity crisis.
In the U.S., six in ten people have at least one chronic disease, and four in ten have two or more. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent 7 out of 10 global deaths. Chronic disease is associated with:
poorer health outcomes,
increased risk of depression, and
lower quality of life.
Physical inactivity is a contributing cause of at least 35 health conditions, including several of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., and Australian data estimates that it may be responsible for up to 10-20% of the burden for related chronic health diseases in that country. That burden doesn’t just impact a person’s health—according to one estimate 11.1% of total U.S. healthcare expenditure is related to inadequate physical activity, while the CDC attributes $117 billion in health costs to inadequate physical activity.