Happy Paradise

Jan 30, 2010 at 15:09 o\clock

Parks and Recreation Programs Declining as Obesity, Health Concerns Rise


One way to help address the epidemic of obesity in the United States is improved access to pleasant hiking trails and an ambitious parks and recreation program, a recent study suggests, but programs such as this are increasingly being reduced in many states due to budget shortfalls. The analysis, done by researchers in Oregon, found that some of the health issues that plague overweight and obese people can be aided by a stronger commitment to recreational opportunities. Cutting such programs to save money may be counterproductive to community health, scientists said. "Research is now showing there's a close correlation between public health and recreational opportunities, both close to home and in state parks," said Randy Rosenberger, an associate professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University. "And it's not just about losing weight. It's been found that active obese individuals have lower morbidity and mortality than normal weight individuals who are sedentary." The study was conducted by scientists from OSU, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the USDA Forest Service. It was one part of the 2008-12 Oregon Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. "Getting sedentary people physically active will lead to health benefits for them and reduction in the health care burden on society," the scientists wrote in their conclusion. "Gaps in recreation supply are not simply the lack of facilities, although this is important, but also their location, accessibility and diversity of opportunities."

Jan 26, 2010 at 06:26 o\clock

Obesity Now Poses as Great a Threat to Quality of Life as Smoking

population becomes increasingly obese while smoking rates continue to decline, obesity has become an equal, if not greater, contributor to the burden of disease and shortening of healthy life in comparison to smoking. In an article published in the February 2010 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers from Columbia University and The City College of New York calculate that the Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) lost due to obesity is now equal to, if not greater than, those lost due to smoking -- both modifiable risk factors. QALYs use preference-based measurements of Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) which allow a person to state a relative preference for a given health outcome. Since one person may value a particular outcome differently than another person, these measures capture how each respondent views his or her own quality of life. Investigators Haomiao Jia, PhD and Erica I. Lubetkin, MD, MPH, state, "Although life expectancy and QALE have increased over time, the increase in the contribution of mortality to QALYs lost from obesity may result in a decline in future life expectancy. Such data are essential in setting targets for reducing modifiable health risks and eliminating health disparities." The article is "Trends in Quality-Adjusted Life-Years Lost Contributed by Smoking and Obesity" by Haomiao Jia, PhD, and Erica I. Lubetkin, MD, MPH. The article appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 38, Issue 2 (February 2010) published by Elsevier.