The leading killers in Westernized countries are chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancer. There is a strong correlation between a poor diet, physical inactivity and an increase risk in chronic diseases.
Chronic diseases have an immense burden to society by increasing medical costs and human suffering. There has been overwhelming evidence from a variety of sources which links most chronic diseases seen in the world today to physical inactivity and inappropriate diet consumption. In fact recent data estimates that physical inactivity and poor diet caused 400,000 deaths in the year 2000. At the moment this ranks second, however soon inactivity and diet will soon rank as the leading cause of death in the United States.
These health problems have virtually been non existent in underdeveloped countries, but as they develop more like westernized cultures chronic diseases have increased. People changing their diets and becoming more sedentary is on the rise.
For years diet has been known to play a key role as a risk factor in chronic diseases. Foods high in fat and energy-dense with a substantial content of animal foods have replaced diets which were typically largely plant-based. Diets are a major preventative; however it is just one risk factor. Physical inactivity is another major risk factor which is an important determinant of health. Recent studies have emphasized the importance of regular physical activity in decreasing the risk of chronic disease which needs to include both aerobic and resistance training.
The evidence suggests that an adoption of an ongoing healthy lifestyle is more effective in preventing chronic diseases than quick fix ‘weight-loss’ diets. The scientific evidence supporting the value of daily exercise and a diet focusing on the consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables for the prevention and treatment of the major diseases seen in industrialized countries today is overwhelming.