June 28, 2006
Atlanta (GA) – According to the 2006 Georgia Physical Activity Surveillance Report, an estimated 3,500 Georgians die every year because they do not get enough physical activity. Sedentary lifestyles are associated with increased risk for a number of conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity. The health and economic burden of sedentary lifestyles can be avoided if more Georgians adopt active lifestyles.
“It’s time for us to take charge of our health,” said Stuart Brown, MD, director of the DHR Division of Public Health. “This report makes it clear that we must persevere with our Be Active campaign that promotes the importance of physical activity in Georgia.”
The 2006 Georgia Physical Activity Surveillance Report, released earlier this month by the Georgia Department of Human Resources, focuses on behaviors, policies and environments influencing physical activity behaviors, costs associated with physical inactivity, and strategies to promote active lifestyles in Georgia. The report confirms what officials have known for years: Sedentary lifestyles are one of the top public health problems in Georgia.
Recent statistics indicate too many Georgians do not get enough physical activity. The percentages of vigorously active middle school students (68%) and high school students (59%) are well below the national goal (85%). Only two in five (42%) adults in Georgia met the recommendations for regular physical activity.
“We’re seeing a number of serious health effects resulting from sedentary lifestyles,” said Brown. “If we continue on this same path, the results will be devastating to both the health of Georgians and to our healthcare system.”
Strategies outlined in the 2006 Physical Activity Surveillance Report focus on increasing levels of physical activity among individuals and increasing the number of organizational policies and environmental features promoting active lifestyles.
“It’s a complex issue,” said Brown. “Physical activity is affected by a number of factors. In addition to lifestyle choices, we must also address organizational policies and environmental features that contribute to sedentary behaviors. Some schools, worksites, communities, and health care organizations have begun to implement organizational policies and environmental features, and more are needed to encourage people to be active.”
The information presented in the 2006 Georgia Physical Activity Surveillance Report is intended to help state and local partners plan, implement, and evaluate programs to promote healthy behaviors in all Georgians. As part of a collaborative obesity prevention initiative, funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHR released a comprehensive ten-year plan to address physical activity and nutrition in the state in June 2005.
“Science-based physical activity interventions must be planned and implemented in partnership with public and private partners,” said Brown. “Though we currently have several state and local efforts underway to address physical inactivity in Georgia, we know we will need to have even more to ensure long-term success.”
In March 2005, Governor Sonny Perdue and DHR launched the Live Healthy Georgia campaign, an initiative designed to raise awareness about how to: Be Active, Eat Healthy, Be Smoke Free, Get Checked, and Be Positive. The principal message of the campaign is that moderate lifestyle changes such as improving food choices and getting more physical activity can have a significant impact on health.
To view the 2006 Georgia Physical Activity Surveillance Report or for more information about the Live Healthy Georgia Campaign visit www.livehealthygeorgia.org, or for more information on Georgia’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative, visit http://health.state.ga.us/nutandpa/.
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