In the last decade, a dramatic increase in overweight individuals and obesity has been reported in both developed and underdeveloped countries. Noncommunicable diseases, as well as type 2 diabetes and obesity are one of the most common causes of long-term disability, especially cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is still the leading cause of death in the industrialized world. Accumulating evidence over the last 50 years indicates that exercise may postpone or counteract, at least partially, the debilitating consequences of CVD and prevent complications provoked by the inactive state.
Today, we can conclude that lack of physical activity or lack of a physically active lifestyle is clearly an overall high health risk.
Societal indicators of reductions in human energy expenditure and increases in sedentary behavior during the past several decades are particularly striking. By the year 2000, the human race reached a sort of historical landmark; for the first time in human evolution, the number of adults with excess weight surpassed the number of those who were underweight. Excess adiposity/body weight is now widely recognized as one of today’s leading health threats. Although obesity during childhood is indicated as a complex disorder, the prevalence of overweight and obese children is continually growing globally. This has become a concern to public health, as overweight and obesity during childhood tracks into adulthood and is associated with short- and long-term adverse health outcomes.
A number of research articles in this monograph provide interesting and innovating practical suggestions, applications, and directions for some future research. The researched phenomena include: the first physical movements of life recognized as fetal movements and a mother’s physiological states; potential differences in cardiovascular fitness between schoolchildren from urban and rural areas, with respect to their age and gender; evidence for the 5-year regular sport exercise effect of on muscle contractile properties in children; trend changes of physical abilities of school children; the effects of linear and change-of-direction speed training methods on the sprint performance of young adults; the relationship between sports experience and performance scores on a health-related physical fitness test among female university freshmen; the application of sports activities that improve the level of upper extremity motor abilities in people with spinal cord injuries; theoretical frameworks supporting learning-inclusive environment details; basic approaches for the inclusion of people with disabilities in community recreation programs; the relation between health and fitness characteristics by Special Olympic athletes competing as cross-country skiers; the relations between physical activity and/or physical exercise and body composition characteristics in the working-age population of both genders; evidence- based information about the effects of sedentary behavior on physiological function in humans; new facts resulting from numerous clinical and epidemiological studies about the effects of physical activity, and reducing the risk of breast and prostate cancer; and information about the connection between physical activity and cognition across the human life span. Finally, the last chapter examines the opinion of the elderly about the impact of physical activity in some segments concerning the quality of life of people living in the Third Age.