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Sports and recreational injury: the hidden cost of a healthy lifestyle
  1. S W Marshall1,
  2. K M Guskiewicz2
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology, Department of Orthopedics, and Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  2. 2Department of Exercise and Sports Science, Department of Orthopedics, and Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Marshall; 

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More exercise will mean less obesity related disease, but exercise related injuries may negate the gain

Sport and recreational physical activity is an integral part of our society and participation in recreational physical activity is widely promoted as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, recent studies, such as the paper by Conn et al in this issue of Injury Prevention, point to the significant, and largely under-researched, injury problem associated with sports and recreational injury.1 In this guest editorial, we review the evidence for and against increasing the level of physical activity in the general population in developed counties. We also suggest specific collaborations important for controlling sports and recreational injury and for developing future recommendations on physical activity.

Physical inactivity and obesity are a growing problem throughout the developed world.2 Increasing affluence has facilitated the consumption of a high energy, high fat diet.2,3 But as food portion sizes have grown,4 so too have our waistlines.5 Levels of work related physical activity have dropped with the advent of service-orientated economies in developed countries; concurrently, the time available for recreational physical activity has diminished.3,6 Nearly 75% of US adults report they are not regularly active or are inactive during leisure time.7 In addition, the transportation infrastructure in developed countries increasingly discourages walking or cycling in favor of using a motor vehicle.8

As a result of reduced physical activity, diabetes and other obesity related diseases have increased.2,9,10 Of great concern is the fact that participation in physical education programs by US children and adolescents is low (only 21% of US adolescents participate in daily school based physical activity programs) and declining, while the prevalence of overweight in this age group is increasing.7,11–13 In part, this …

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