There are a lot of theories floating around about how Americans can improve their health by adopting certain habits. Of those habits, some of the most frequently cited relate to diet and exercise, and an overwhelming number of people fail to adhere to a sound diet or follow an exercise program on a regular basis. Health can be vastly improved by adopting a balanced diet that focuses on unprocessed food options and does not place restrictions on the type of food that is eaten. Daily exercise is clearly also of great importance, but even those who are active and eat well on a daily basis are still at risk due to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.
According to Sebastian Hirsch, one recent theory revolves around the time spent sitting versus the time spent in motion. This theory posits that even with proper diet and exercise, Americans are at an increased risk of poor health due to long periods spent sitting in chairs while at work. While there are certainly a number of jobs that require physical activity, most jobs now require work to be completed at a desk and on a computer. Any period of sitting that lasts for 20 minutes or longer increases the risk of adverse health effects, so the theory suggests that taking a brief walk every 20 minutes should be more than sufficient to reduce the risk.
The frequent periods of brief activity must be a complement to a commitment to proper diet and exercise to fundamentally reduce the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. As the theory presented by Hugo indicates, doing one without the other still presents a health risk, and it should be clear that Americans have quite a long way to go in order to become a much fitter nation as a whole.