The epidemiological transition is a model that has been developed to explain long-term shifts in popula- tion mortality rates that are tied to economic and demo- graphic changes. 5,6 Within this context, the theory of nutrition transition seeks to explain how changes related to lifestyle, particularly diet, have occurred in parallel with the increasing prevalence of obesity and chronic disease. 7–10 Changes in nutritional patterns have been widely studied within the context of the escalating levels of obesity and chronic disease in countries undergoing rapid economic development; however, the role of shifts in physical activity patterns has been less explored. Thus, the purpose of this report is to introduce the con- cept of the “Physical Activity Transition” and to explore the potential effects that shifting physical activity levels may play on health and life expectancy in countries experiencing rapid economic development. The Epidemiological Transition The epidemiologic transition is described in terms of four stages or ages: (1) pestilence and famine, (2) receding pandemics, (3) degenerative and man-made ORIGINAL RESEARCH
270 Katzmarzyk and Mason occurred in tandem with the rising global prevalence of overweight and obesity and are contributing to shifting morbidity and mortality profiles around the world. 7–10 Generally speaking, the nutrition transition is character- ized by a shift away from traditional diets (based on indigenous staple grains, local legumes, fruits and veg- etables, and limited foods of animal origin) in favor of a more “industrialized” diet (comprised of more animal- based food products and processed food high in satu- rated fats and sugar). The five patterns of the nutrition transition have been characterized as (1) collection of food, (2) famine, (3) receding famine, (4) degenerative disease, and (5) behavioral change. 7,8 The focus of the nutrition transition model is on the energy intake side of the energy balance equation, 7 and in many research reports describing the nutrition transition, physical activity patterns are considered as a contributing factor in shifting health patterns; 10,14 however, until recently, there have been limited attempts to study physical activ- ity patterns or trends within the context of the epidemio- logic transition. 15,16 The Physical Activity Transition In a similar way that changing dietary patterns are thought to be contributing to the rise in obesity and chronic disease worldwide, shifting patterns of physical activity may also be an important contributor. Over time there has been a major change in the role that physical activity has played in relation to survival. 17 For the majority of our evolutionary history, humans and earlier hominids lived a hunter-gatherer existence, while recent advances in agriculture and technology have occurred over a comparatively short time frame (~10,000 y), drastically changing our energy balance profiles.
- Fall '17
- Shae Strachan
- Demography, Life expectancy, University of Manitoba