Physical Activity and Nutrition are two of the main components that individuals need to consider when dealing with lifestyle-related conditions such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, stress, and obesity. High blood sugar, which is the main cause of diabetes, is one of the most important things that humans need to keep under control. Whenever individuals fail to take good care of their bodies, they become susceptible develop lifestyle-related conditions. People often lose focus when they have no idea of the appropriate food for their bodies or the suitable exercising programs. Due to poor nutritional habits and low physical activity, humans become prone to lifestyle diseases, a fact that they realize when it is too late to regain their health.
Researchers have established that humans can minimize the risks of developing lifestyle diseases by engaging in physical activities and consuming suitable diets. However, most people underestimate the benefits of physical activity and nutrition in preventing lifestyle diseases. For example, there is a general perception that a strict physical activity and nutrition regime represents an inconvenience and a disruption to normal living. Therefore, people tend to adopt a lifestyle that they regard as convenient and less disruptive. However, researchers continue to conduct studies to determine the impact of physical activity and nutrition on wellbeing of individuals.
Statement of the Problem
Most people do not take the issue of physical exercises and healthy eating seriously, resulting in various lifestyle-related health problems globally. Research studies have indicated that nutrition is one of the most difficult aspects of regulating how good a person’s diet may be. In order to remain healthy and in good physical condition, individuals need to demonstrate high levels of discipline with regards to dieting and exercising physically. For example, it is important for individuals to adhere to exercises and diet regime in order to minimize risk of lifestyle diseases. Research studies indicate that individuals across all age groups are prone to poor health as a result of poor nutrition and lack of physical activity.
Consequently, the issue of disregarding physical activities and nutrition has impacted negatively on people’s lives. Data from the World Health Organization indicates that a large proportion of the world proportion is suffering from lifestyle diseases due to lack of physical exercises. One key challenge is that individuals think that they can effortlessly switch their lifestyles to evade the adverse consequences of poor nutrition. Another challenge is that individuals often fail to demonstrate the necessary consistency whenever they embark on physical exercises and nutritional regimes. For example, problems such as craving are bound to appear from time to time, thus negating any progress that individuals make as far as nutrition is concerned.
Objectives of the Review
Regular exercises and proper nutrition are some of the most significant determinants of health in humans. It is important for individuals to constantly take care of their bodies through regular physical activities and consumption of healthy and balanced diets. The aim of the review is to provide readers with knowledge regarding the importance of physical exercises and nutrition in ensuring a healthy living. The researcher has particularly targeted teenagers who face the greatest risk of experiencing health problems due to inactivity and poor nutritional choices. By expanding individuals’ views on nutrition and exercises, the research findings will impact positively on the individuals in particular and the community in general.
Before embarking on the review, the researcher sought to answer several questions with regards to physical exercises and nutrition. First, the researcher identified the theory behind motivation of individuals to undertake physical exercises and eat healthy. The second research question related to the prevailing global trends with regards to the issue of physical activity and nutrition. Third, the researcher will sought to answer the question regarding health benefits that individuals derive from physical activity and nutrition.
The researcher primarily used literature review to analyze the impact of physical activity and nutrition among individuals psychological, mental, and social wellbeing. According to Merriam and Tisdell (2009), the behavior of people is reflective of their attitude towards the outside world and the environment. Such behavior includes choice of nutrition, fitness regime, and attitudes towards wellness programs. The researcher confirmed this assertion by reviewing a multiplicity of findings from previous studies.
The researcher further reviewed contrasting data from previous research studies on the topic. To ensure relevance, the researcher only reviewed literature that is no older than 20 years. In other words, literature older than 20 years does not form part of this study. For credibility purposes, only data from authoritative sources will be considered for review. Therefore, the researcher will consult credible sources such as scholarly journals, books, articles, and website resources from acclaimed authors or institutions. Website resources such as Wikipedia and blogs do not form part of this study.
The review will also include the assessment of the impacts of physical activity and nutrition across various age brackets, including children, adolescents, and grownups. Such an extensive coverage is important because it represents extensive benefits to all members of society. For this review, the age definition of children will be 2-5 years while that of youths and adults will vary from 10-15, 15-24, 10-35, or 35 and older. One of the main assumptions by the researcher is that age defines the boundaries of a group which manifests certain attitudes. To ensure inclusivity, the researcher did not consider factors such as cultural orientation of individuals or geography.
Data Analysis Plan
Analysis of data is an important part of a research because it enables the scholar to acquire the necessary information in accordance to the research questions. The exclusion and exclusion criteria for this research is critical because it helps the researcher in the data analysis. In addition, the research approach enabled the researcher to identify materials that were useful and relevant for the study.
While some individuals participate in regular physical activity for enjoyment and hobby purposes, others appear to do so in order to gain intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Some of the rewards that individuals gain from physical activity include losing weight, becoming more physically attractive, and identifying themselves with particular groups. Previous studies on the subject of physical activity have indicated that individuals who exercise purely for enjoyment purposes rather than for physical rewards are more likely to adhere to the exercise programs. Since one of the main goals of health professionals is to promote continues active lifestyle in humans, there has been a proliferation of research relating to the issue of exercising in recent years. Researchers have been consistently been seeking to understand how to promote long-term behavioral change among individuals. Accordingly, scholars have advanced the theory of self-determination, which they have applied extensively to the understanding of exercise behavior and patterns in individuals.
Despite the prevalence of numerous approaches to behavioral change, research studies have shown that long term engagement to physical exercises and nutrition is ineffective without a consistent motivational environment. In contrast, promoters of self-determination theory focus on the process through which individuals acquire motivation to establish and sustain long-term health-related behaviors. According to self-determination theorists, people need to possess several enabling attributes to enable them attain their psychological growth objectives. First, they need to possess multiple skills to enable them persevere the demanding physical activity programs. Second, they need to have certain connections and relatedness in order to experience a sense of belonging and attachment to each other. Third, individuals need to feel that they are in control of their own behaviors and goals. This means that individuals must be personally responsible for their physical exercise and nutrition programs and should therefore avoid any distractive external influence.
According to Al-Hazzaa et al (2011), sedentary behaviors are associated with adverse health outcomes in individuals across all age groups. Television viewing and lack of physical activities among individual of all ages have contributed to the high prevalence of obesity and metabolic risks. In another study by Platat et al (2006), sedentary activities and poor nutritional choices by adolescents and teenagers were found to have negative impact on fitness and the ability of the body to sustain immunity against diseases. In addition, researchers have established that increase in television viewing is associated with a corresponding reduction of physical exertions. At the same time, individuals who watch television for long periods of time often make poor nutritional choices due to the tendency to consume junk and unhealthy food.
Researchers have also focused on the adverse effects of lack of physical activity among youths. Results from previous systematic reviews indicate that sedentary behaviors — a key contributor to low physical activities — are associated with poor nutritional decisions such as low consumption of fruits and vegetables and high intake of fast foods, energy-dense snacks, and sugary drinks. Sedentary behavior is prevalent among youths as well as the elderly. As a result, individuals become physically inactive as a result of spending long hours in inactive state. Consequently, they become more prone to lifestyle and sedentary complications such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high stress levels, and depression. For example, a recent study on Saudi youths aged 10-19 revealed a positive correlation between consumption of sugary beverages and poor dietary habits. Collison et al (2010) further established that the prevalence of obesity among Saudi Arabian youths as a result of low physical activity and poor nutritional decisions was 12.2% and 27% for boys and girls respectively. Therefore, physical activity is crucial in the reduction of health problems such as obesity.
The first three years of adolescents’ lives is a crucial stage in the life cycle of humans. This stage represents the period in which humans develop and form lifestyles. Researchers have established that adolescents have increased access to food from those available at home. At the same time, adolescents tend to increase their social interactions with their peers of similar age group. This leads to the development of specific dietary habits and physical activity patterns. Dietary and physical activity patterns become established during teenage years, which lead to a complete change in lifestyle. It is therefore important for health care professionals to develop a better understanding of the relationships between healthy habits and management of lifestyle-related diseases among young people. To achieve the health care provision objectives, professionals must identify ways to track individuals as they transition through various age brackets. Some health care professionals have even suggested that nutrition and physical activity should form the primary basis for the prevention of cardio-metabolic complications.
Over the years, the U.S. has experienced significant lifestyle changes. Sedimentary lifestyles have traditionally been prevalent among the Americans, with studies indicating that 60% of American children and about 70% of adults do not engage in physical activity of sufficient intensity and frequency. In addition, food consumption patterns among Americans have changed drastically over the last two decades. With the advent of technology and the proliferation of fast-food outlets across multiple locations in the U.S., individuals can now access food conveniently almost at a moment’s notice. This consumption behavior has led to a high prevalence of lifestyle-related conditions such as diabetes and obesity among a significant percentage of the U.S. population. In addition, poor exercise programs is highly prevalent among the Americans, with studies revealing the American adults rarely spend time performing physical activities.
Bailey, Cope and Pearce (2013), discuss the implication of engaging in sporting activities among children. The authors observed that physical activities among children are not only crucial, but also that they must be done in the right way. From their research in children coaching, the authors identified the role of coaches in ensuring that youths maintain the right attitudes and levels of concentration when they undertake the physical activities. However, there is always an inherent risk in engaging the services of professional coaches during the physical activity sessions. For example, Muir et al., (2011), argued that the coaching practices may not always be in line with developmental needs of the children. The results from such situations are inappropriate coaching, which fails to consider the individual learning needs of the children. Therefore, it is important for professional coaches to first determine the unique needs of each child in order to implement appropriate coaching regime.
Casey et al., (2009), established that proper management of sport and recreational facilities can result in the desired positive outcomes in promoting physical social health. The researchers established that physical activities that meet the required guidelines impacts directly on important health outcomes such as low prevalence of cardiovascular complications. Therefore, it is important for healthcare practitioners to streamline physical activities programs in schools and medical institutions to help meet the goals of a healthy community. For example, sporting and recreational organizations that accept the principles of a health promotion program have an increased chance of attaining their desired health objectives. Sporting institutions that do not embrace any formal physical activity schedules may achieve mixed outcomes.
From a nutritional perspective, Deci and Ryan (2008), established that individuals who adopt healthy eating habits and engage in consistent physical activities have higher chances of living lifestyles. In contrast, individuals who do not exercise often and also consume poor diets face significant risks of suffering from lifestyle-related conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, the body tends to accumulate fat due to the high consumption of food high in carbohydrate contents and low in fibre. The situation becomes worse as a result of sufficient physical exertions to convert the excess fat into energy, resulting in obesity. Similarly, Gleave and Cole-Hamilton (2012), identify the positive benefits of play and physical activities among children. Play and recreation are essential factors in promoting the development of motor and social skills among children under the age of 10. In contrast, children who rarely exercise physically experience stunted development in motor and social skills. In addition, physically-inactive children experience lower development in creativity compared to their physically-active counterparts.
From the review of literature, it is evident that physical activity and nutrition are important attributes in the determination of healthy lifestyle in humans. According to the Center for Disease and Control (2008), individuals who exercise regularly and eat healthy food have high chances of leading a healthy lifestyle. Most of the findings on the effectiveness of physical activities and diet as intervention measures suggest the two activities results in positive long-term health benefits for individuals. Exercise intervention measures include aerobics, running, walking, and lifting weights. Conversely, researchers have established that sedentary behaviors lead to adverse impact on health.
Individuals across all ages are prone to experiencing lifestyle-related diseases if they fail to exercise often and make healthy nutritional choices. Such behaviors often result in long-term health complications such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and obesity. Moreover, researchers have established that children who do not exercise regularly experience lower rates of cognitive development during their formative stage. The late adolescent stage is also a crucial period in individuals’ lives because it is at this time that they establish habits with regards to physical activities and nutrition choice. Consequently, adolescent who adopt harmful lifestyles have more chances to develop unhealthy health-related outcomes.
Discussion and Implications
Individuals who exercise regularly and eat healthy food have a greater chance of living a healthy lifestyle. In addition, such individuals face low risks associated with lack of physical activity and poor dietary habits. Conversely, individuals who engage in harmful habits such as low physical activity and poor dietary choices face a high risk of lifestyle-related complications. Researchers have identified physical activity and nutrition as major contributors to a wide range of positive outcomes in physical and mental health. In addition, physical activity and nutrition affect cognitive and academic performance among children and students. Moreover, regular physical activities such as weight-lifting, walking, running, and aerobics result in reduction of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and weight gain.
Researchers have also established that physically active children and adult who participate in team sports are less likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyle such as consumption of junk food. Such people are conscious about the efforts they have made, thus they are unlikely to reverse the gains they make from the strenuous physical exertions. Besides, there is a direct relationship between persistent physical activities and choice of nutrition. Scholars have also established that individuals gain more from supervised physical exercise programs. Conversely, uncoordinated physical exertions can be counterproductive.
Limitations of the Study
The researcher primarily relies on literature from previous studies conducted on the topic. As a result, several limitations become apparent. First, the researcher does not obtain first-hand data that one can obtain when conducting a qualitative research. For example, there is not first-hand information from respondents, which make the research ineffective in terms of originality. Second, the information available in the past literature is subject to researchers’ bias. Therefore, the researcher has no way of detecting or circumventing the bias of the original scholar. Third, the researcher use past information, rather than present or recent data. In the current dynamic word, information is likely to be absolute due to the passage of time.
The theory of self-determination is a crucial element in determining the attitudes of individuals towards physical activity and nutrition. As such, researchers have applied this theory extensively to understand the exercise patterns in individuals. The theory of self-determination is consistent with the findings that people who engage in physical activities and eat appropriate food have a high chance of leading healthy lifestyles. In addition, existing literature reveals that healthy lifestyle leads to a range of positive outcomes, including mental health, social well-being, and improved academic performance. Researchers have also established the link between regular physical activity and low prevalence of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. There are also positive correlations between physically-active individuals and unhealthy behaviors. For example, people who exercise regularly are less likely to consume unhealthy food than people who lead sedentary lives. Conversely, physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyle have a positive relationship with poor academic performance, poor health, and unsatisfactory social image.