On 5 April, icddr,b’s Centre for the Control of Chronic Diseases organised a morning of physical activity to celebrate World Physical Activity Day 2012, and draw attention to the growing problem of chronic diseases in Bangladesh. According to World Health Organization’s estimates, physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, causing some 3.2 million deaths globally.
To highlight the problem, the morning started with a public rally, and ended with a staff football match held in conjunction with the institution’s Staff Welfare Association. This year, the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh also joined icddr,b to mark the occasion.
World Physical Activity Day
World Physical Activity Day was introduced in 2002 by the Brazilian organisation Agita Mundo, a global physical activity promotion network. Physical activity is essential for the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and one of the major ways of reducing that burden. Regular moderate intensity physical activity – such as walking, cycling, or participating in sports – has significant benefits for health. It can reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer, and depression, and can also decrease the risk of a hip or vertebral fracture and help control weight.
Research supports the claim: it’s good to play sports!
A recent study undertaken by icddr,b suggests that 25% of the rural population and 44% of the urban population take insufficient physical activity. In line with the World Health Organization’s recommendations, icddr,b researchers regard it as essential to promote the importance of physical activity for the population’s health. Daily physical activity should be practiced at different intensities and time depending on age: at least 60 minutes for children and adolescents, and at least 30 minutes for adults aged 18 years and beyond. “So often we in the medical profession do not practice what we preach,” explained Centre for Control of Chronic Diseases Director, Professor, Louis W. Niessen, who captained the winning football team. “The activities of World Physical Activity Day are a great opportunity for us to show that we need to start being active in order to take good care of our health.”
An oath to keep fit, and stay fit
Earlier in the day, participants from icddr,b took an oath to promote good health practices and to include physical activities such as walking and jogging in their daily lives. icddr,b’s Acting Executive Director Dr. Md. Abdus Salam together with icddr,b’s Centre for Control of Chronic Diseases Director Professor Louis W Niessen and Staff Welfare Association President and also Head of Dhaka Hospital’s Short Stay Unit, Dr. Azharul Islam Khan, highlighted the importance of physical activities for combating non-communicable chronic diseases along with its other health and social benefits.
"I commend icddr,b for observing these events. It gives health professionals and the general public an opportunity to mingle and have fun, while at the same time exchange ideas and perceptions about general health," commented icddr,b Acting Executive Director Dr. Salam.
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Communications Specialist, icddr,b