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Physical Activity and Weight

  • By: René M. Dailey
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Although much of health communication research focuses on acute health risks, research has increasingly focused on behaviors that contribute to overall health and well-being such as physical activity, which is often assessed in combination with diet, nutrition, or weight loss programs. Many cultures are becoming more sedentary with large portions of the populations considered inactive—a major factor in the high obesity rates in both children and adults. The benefits of physical activity include reducing the risk of obesity as well as cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression. As such, the focus on health communication regarding physical activity has become increasingly important.

Researchers have assessed health communication about physical activity in several contexts such as media campaigns, patient-provider communication, and interpersonal (e.g., family, friend) relationships. ...

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