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The Sport Digest - ISSN: 1558-6448

Wellness Challenge in the 21st Century

For the first time in the year 2000, the World Health Organization(WHO) calculated healthy life expectancy(HLE) estimates for 191 nations. Japan was first with a HLE of 74.5 years. However, the United States ranked 24 th in this report with a HLE of 70 years ( Hoeger & Hoeger, 2002). The US ranking was a major surprise , given its status as a developed country with one of the best medical care systems in the world. It showed Americans die earlier and spend more time disabled than people in most other advanced countries.

The most common problems in the world were infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, influenza, kidney disease, polio and other diseases of infancy.

By the way, more north American people started to enjoy the “good life”(sedentary living, alcohol, fatty foods, excessive sweets, tobacco, drugs), we saw a parallel increase in the incidence of chronic diseases such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, strokes, diabetes, caner, emphysema, and cirrhosis of liver( National Center for Health Statistics,2000).

It’s best medicine to understand to prevent the chronic disease. Actually, a wellness and fitness movement development gradually at the end of the 20 th century. People start to understand that good health is mostly self controlled and that the leading causes of premature death and illness in North America could be prevent by adhering to positive lifestyle habits( Hoeger & Hoeger, 2002). Therefore, we all desire to live long and happy life, wellness programs focus on enhancing the overall quality of life.

A Healthy Life and Wellness

Most people recognize that participant in fitness programs improve their quality of life. In recent years, we came to realize that improving physical fitness alone was not always sufficient to lower the risk for disease and ensure better health. This phenomenon was probably due to better physical status or athletic-loving nature of male students.

About fitness related study, flexibility of female was better than that of male. The better flexibility of female might be due to natural difference. Waist size, blood pressure and level of blood fat were reported to be closely correlated each other and were high risk factors of cardiovescular diseases (Reeder et al., 1997).

Study from American Athletic Association (1990) revealed that keeping 3-5 times of middle-intense exercise for 20 min per week was beneficial to the promotion and development of physical fitness. Pate (1995) reported that 40% of 6-12 year-old American male students and 70% of 6-17 year-old American female students could not accomplish a single action ; 50% of 6-16 year-old female students and 30% of 6-12 year-old male students could not complete 1,600-meter running within 10 minutes. Decrease or lack of physical activities has led at least 1-3 individuals in 40% of students to carry risk factors for cardiocescular diseases.

Increase of physical activities was beneficial both to prevention and control of various chronic diseases (USDHHS, 1996). Execution of physical fitness can not only promote civil health but also decrease the onset of modern diseases such as cardiovescular diseases (Pen Yu-Ren, Lin Chao-Kwan, and Lee Shu-We, 2000).

According to a study that recruited the alumni of Harvard and Pennsylvania University as study subjects, the prevalence of cancer was reciprocally related to the level of energy consumption. Physical fitness was once defined as one who had good health and leisure activities (Greenberg & Pargman,1986).


Most people are aware of their unhealthy behaviors(smoking, inactivity, high-fat diets, excessive stress), smoking, inactivity, high-fat diets, excessive stress), they seem satisfied with life as long as they are free from symptoms of disease or illness. Wellness covers several components that are conducive to health. Wellness living requires implementing positive programs to change behavior to improve health and quality of life, and achieve total well-being. It includes seven dimensions: physical, emotional , mental, social, environmental, occupational, and spiritual. Wellness incorporates factors such as adequate fitness, proper nutrition , stress management , disease prevention, spirituality, not smoking or abusing drugs, personal safety, regular physical examinations, health education, and environmental support ( Hoeger & Hoeger, 2002).

Physical wellness- Good physical fitness and confidence in one’s personal ability to take care of health problems.

Emotional wellness- The ability to understand your own feelings, accept your limitations , and achieve emotional stability. Mental wellness- A state in which your mind is engaged in lively interaction with the world around you.

Social wellness- The ability to relate well to others , both within and outside the family unit.

Environmental wellness- The capability to live in a clean and safe environment that is not detrimental to health.

Occupational wellness- The ability to perform one’s job skillfully and effectively under conditions that provide personal and team satisfaction and adequately reward each individual.

Spiritual wellness- The sense that life is meaningful, that life has purpose , and that some power brings all humanity together; the ethics, values , and morals that guide us and give meaning and direction to life.


It’s important knowledge for us to realize health and wellness including as follows : exercise , increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, smoking cessation, and the practice of safe sex.

Therefore, the objectives address three important points( U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,2000):1. Health promotion and disease prevention. Prevention is better than therapy. 2. Personal responsibility for health behavior. Responsible and informed behavior are the key to good health and fitness. 3. Health benefits for all people communities. Extending the benefits of good health to all people is crucial to the health of the nation.


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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services(2000). Healthy People 2010. Washington DC:US Government. Inactivity among adolescents is a contributing factor to the increasing trends in overweight. Doctors and researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2003, one third of high school students did not engage in the minimum recommended level of moderate or vigorous physical activity. The prevalence of overweight among U.S. adolescents aged 12-19 years has tripled. Researchers go on to state, “if the national health objectives are to be achieved, coordinated efforts involving schools, communities, and policy makers are needed to provide daily, quality PE for all youth.”
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