How much time do you spend out­doors walk­ing, cycling, run­ning or con­scious­ly exer­cis­ing?

Phys­i­cal inac­tiv­i­ty is the fourth lead­ing risk fac­tor for glob­al mor­tal­i­ty, account­ing for over 3 mil­lion pre­ventable deaths worldwide.It has also been linked to anx­i­ety and depres­sion and is an inde­pen­dent risk fac­tor for non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases (NCDs) such as car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases and type 2 dia­betes, which, giv­en their chron­ic nature and high cost of care, not only have a neg­a­tive impact on health, but also have a major eco­nom­ic impact on house­holds, com­mu­ni­ties, and nations.

Accord­ing to The World Health Orga­ni­za­tion  (WHO) phys­i­cal activ­i­ty is all move­ments includ­ing those under­tak­en dur­ing leisure time, trans­port or as a part of a person’s work. The rec­om­mend­ed inten­si­ty and fre­quen­cy of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty varies with age and health sta­tus with over 25% of adults glob­al­ly not meet­ing the min­i­mum rec­om­men­da­tions.

The exten­sive urban­iza­tion and glob­al­iza­tion have led to a rise in seden­tary lifestyles across the world owing to the lack of spaces for phys­i­cal exer­cise and increased office work­ing hours cou­pled with the high pen­e­tra­tion of tele­vi­sion, mobile and video devices.  The extent of seden­tary lifestyles varies in coun­tries depend­ing on the pres­ence of enabling poli­cies and sup­port­ing infra­struc­ture like cycling and walk­ing lanes. The WHO STEP­wise approach to Sur­veil­lance (STEPS) sur­vey car­ried out in Kenya in 2015 for instance, showed that Kenya has a slight­ly high­er preva­lence of phys­i­cal inac­tiv­i­ty com­pared to neigh­bor­ing coun­tries with an esti­mat­ed 81% of ado­les­cents and 27.5% of adults not get­ting the rec­om­mend­ed amount of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty.

In its efforts to pro­mote health activ­i­ty in Kenya by lever­ag­ing its exper­tise in health IT sys­tems, Intel­liSOFT Con­sult­ing Ltd. has part­nered with NextGen on a pro bono project to devel­op an appli­ca­tion that allows data shar­ing between NextGen’s branch­es which include a gym, clin­ic and a sports acad­e­my. Intel­liSOFT has built, adapt­ed, and is imple­ment­ing eHos­pi­tal for the man­age­ment of NextGen’s clin­ic, gym, and Acad­e­my Sports Cen­ter to facil­i­tate health data shar­ing across all the clin­i­cal pro­grams. 

Addi­tion­al­ly, Intel­liSOFT is cre­at­ing a mobile health and well­ness appli­ca­tion to assist NextGen’s cus­tomers in track­ing their phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, diet, sleep, med­i­cine sched­ule, men­tal health, and gen­er­al well­ness. The solu­tion is antic­i­pat­ed to opti­mize the man­age­ment of chron­ic ill­ness­es, phys­io­ther­a­py, pain man­age­ment, car­diac and pul­monary reha­bil­i­ta­tion, and men­tal well­ness.

Exten­sive stud­ies show that phys­i­cal activ­i­ty is one of the most effec­tive ways to pro­mote, improve, restore and main­tain health. Clin­i­cal rec­om­men­da­tions have been made to include phys­i­cal activ­i­ty in the man­age­ment plan for sev­er­al con­di­tions includ­ing dia­betes, obe­si­ty, hyper­ten­sion, depres­sion, anx­i­ety, can­cer as well for cog­ni­tive impair­ments. 

Accord­ing to WHO, if gov­ern­ments don’t act quick­ly to pro­mote more phys­i­cal activ­i­ty among their pop­u­la­tions, about 500 mil­lion peo­ple may suf­fer heart dis­ease, obe­si­ty, dia­betes, or oth­er non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases (NCDs) between 2020 and 2030, cost­ing US$ 27 bil­lion year­ly. The WHO’s Glob­al Action Plan on Phys­i­cal Activ­i­ty calls for the adop­tion of evi­dence-based, suc­cess­ful poli­cies to pro­mote phys­i­cal activ­i­ty in all nations. The Plan includes rec­om­men­da­tions on how coun­tries can pro­mote phys­i­cal activ­i­ty in their com­mu­ni­ties, schools, work­places and homes. It also calls for gov­ern­ments to adopt poli­cies that sup­port phys­i­cal activ­i­ty in trans­port sys­tems, the work­place and pub­lic places. 

In Kenya, the Nation­al Strat­e­gy for the Pre­ven­tion and Con­trol of NCDs for 2015–2020 pro­motes phys­i­cal activ­i­ty as one of the inter­ven­tions to pre­vent and con­trol NCDs. The strat­e­gy is sup­port­ed by a Nation­al Action Plan on NCDs for 2015–2020, which includes a focus on phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and sport. The strat­e­gy aims to increase phys­i­cal activ­i­ty among adults, chil­dren and ado­les­cents. To real­ize this goal, stake­hold­ers in both the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor need to work togeth­er to accel­er­ate efforts to curb phys­i­cal inac­tiv­i­ty.

 

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