Some disturbing news was released by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and reported in the Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2016, showing that deaths caused by heart disease in the U.S. increased by 0.9% in 2015 and death by stroke increased 3%. This is the first increase since 1969. These two statistics also resulted in the first time in many years a decrease by one-tenth of a percentage point in life expectancy.
It appears that obesity and diabetes are the two main contributing factors to the increase in death due to heart disease. As we become more automated both at work and at home, the level of physical activity each American has each day diminishes unless a deliberate effort is made to remain physically active. The largest organ in the body is muscle and muscle is made to work. Sedentary lifestyles (low levels of physical activity) increases risk for diabetes, obesity and loss of muscular strength. The heart too is a muscle and it too responds favorably to physical activity.
The IPCS database shows that obesity (as measured by a Body Mass Index – BMI – of 30 or more) over the past 3-years has leveled off at 41% of each year’s pool of new hire applicants. However, the bad news is that the IPCS data shows that the obese are becoming more obese. Since 2006 through 2015, the percentage of morbid (BMI 40-49.9) and extreme morbid (BMI 50 and more) increased from 4.6% to 7.6% which, statistically, is a 65% increase.
The IPCS data also shows that the new hire applicant from 2006 to 2015 weighs 13 pounds more, has 18% less absolute shoulder strength and 23% less absolute knee strength. This puts the applicant at greater risk for injury and disease. There is a number of research studies that clearly shows low muscular strength can increase the risk for the Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.
I have stated this many times – fifty years of research by the American College of Sports Medicine clearly show that physically active individuals are healthier individuals. Maintaining a strong and healthy muscle mass is critical to good health. The IPCS PCE is a good tool to measure muscular strength as it relates to disease and safety.