Why are we doing this?
The purpose of R4T is to improve the health and well-being of individuals around the world. This is done in several inter-related ways:
We raise awareness about the importance of healthy living and exercise.
We help to improve individuals’ healthy lifestyles.
We raise awareness of important charities and their activities around the world.
We raise funding for these charities.
We raise volunteer time for these charities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, there are over one billion overweight adults, of which over 300 million are obese. In 1997 the WHO formally stated that obesity was a global epidemic. It has reached epidemic proportions. Being over-weight is a major risk factor for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and some forms of cancer.
Psycho-social issues are also much more prevalent in individuals who are obese or overweight. Earlier deaths and a reduced quality of life are the outcomes of the overweight epidemic, and that’s without going into the multitude of issues surrounding the effects on health systems as they attempt to respond and manage the epidemic.
In the developed world there has been the continual trend towards a sedentary lifestyle, made possible through automation and technological advances. In 2009 the WHO estimated that at least 60% of the global population gets insufficient exercise. In the United States the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that American society has become ``obesogenic``, with increased food intake, non-healthful foods, and physical inactivity.
In 2009 the CDC noted that since 1980, American obesity rates for adults have doubled and rates for children have tripled. Over one third of all American adults (more than 72 million people), and 16% of American children are obese. In 2000, it was estimated that health costs associated with obesity was $117 billion dollars. In England meanwhile, it’s estimated that about 46% of men and 32% of women are overweight and another 17% of men and 21% of women are obese. In New Zealand, over one third of adults is overweight (36.3%) and over one quarter is obese (26.5%).