Atheism and physical fitness

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Below is various resources on atheism and physical fitness.

Atheism and sedentary lifestyles

Numerous studies report that athletes to be more religious than non-athletes.[1] See also: Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

The journal article Spirituality and Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior among Latino Men and Women in Massachusetts which was published in the journal Ethnicity and Disease declared: "There is a significant negative relationship between spirituality and sedentary behavior."[2]

In addition, numerous studies report that athletes to be more religious than non-athletes.[3] See also: Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism

Sedentary lifestyles reduce life expectancy.[4] Religion/spirituality is positively correlated to greater longevity (see: Atheism and life expectancy).

Irreligion/nonreligious regions and sedentary behavior

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia among whites.[5] See: Western atheism and race and Atheist population and Global atheism

East Asian atheists and sedentary lifestyles

See also: Asian atheism and China and atheism

China Daily reported in 2017: IN ONE PREFECTURE-LEVEL CITY nearly 57 percent of those applying to join the armed forces have failed their health test so far this year.[6]

Razib Khan points out in Discover Magazine, "most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed 'Confucian societies'. It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian."[7]

China has the world's largest atheist population.[8][9] See also: China and atheism

China Daily reported in 2017:

IN ONE PREFECTURE-LEVEL CITY nearly 57 percent of those applying to join the armed forces have failed their health test so far this year. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Monday:

That so many potential recruits failed the fitness test reveals the worrying fact that unhealthy lifestyles have taken a toll on many Chinese youngsters.[10]

The Journal of Sport and Health Science reported in 2016:

Three decades of open reforms in China have brought significant changes in industrialization and urbanization, which have begun to exert an impact on the living environment, health care, and lifestyles. The unprecedented economic development has also brought with it an increase in both the burden of noncommunicable diseases (e.g., coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cancer, and type 2 diabetes) and unhealthy lifestyles (e.g., physical inactivity, fatty food intake, and smoking) among the Chinese population. Physical inactivity, which has been recognized as a high risk factor for disease—contributing 12%–19% of the risk associated with major noncommunicable diseases — has been on the rise in China and was responsible for at least 15% of health care-related costs of major diseases in 2007. This situation has created an urgent need for primary prevention efforts aimed at promoting an active lifestyle, including physical activity (PA), and preventing noncommunicable diseases among the aging Chinese population.[11]

Secular Europe and sedentary lifestyles

In the European Union (EU), two thirds of the adult population does not reach recommended levels of activity.[12]

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared:

In the WHO European Region, one in five people takes little or no physical activity, with higher levels of inactivity in eastern countries. In the European Union (EU), two thirds of the adult population does not reach recommended levels of activity. As a result, physical inactivity is estimated to deprive Europeans of over 8 million days of healthy life every year, on average. Everybody is not affected in the same way, however.

Maintaining sufficient levels of physical activity is becoming more and more difficult, as most daily environments have changed significantly in recent years. The causes of physical inactivity are predominantly the result of systemic and environmental factors, which have made daily living and working environments increasingly sedentary. Greater distances between homes, workplaces, shops and places for leisure activities have increased the use of cars and led to a decline in walking and cycling. Simultaneously, in many contexts, road safety remains a concern, whereby it is, or is perceived to be, not safe to engage in active transport. Children and adolescents spend more time in school or day-care settings than ever before; academic demands are increasing, which can reduce the time dedicated to physical education and active play. [13]

Australia and sedentary lifestyles

See also: Irreligion in Australia

In 2014/15, 65.3% of Australians aged 15 and over were sedentary or had low levels of exercise (comprised of 33.8% sedentary and 31.5% low levels of exercise).[14]

After WWII, Australia has become a very secular country.[15]

According to the Sydney Morning Herald:

Australia is one of the least devout countries in the Western world, although two-thirds of its population identifies itself as Christian, an international survey comparing religious expression in 21 countries has found.

Religion does not play a central part in the lives of many Australians: 48 per cent of Australians surveyed said they did not partake in personal prayer and 52 per cent said they rarely attended a place of worship for religious reasons.[16]

According to the Heart Foundation, Australia:

In 2014/15, 65.3% of Australians aged 15 and over were sedentary or had low levels of exercise (comprised of 33.8% sedentary and 31.5% low levels of exercise).

In total, 12 million Australians aged 15 and over had either sedentary or low levels of exercise.[17]

  1. Strength of Religious Faith of Athletes and Nonathletes at Two NCAA Division III Institutions
  2. Spirituality and Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior among Latino Men and Women in Massachusetts by Valerie J. Silfee, Christina F. Haughton, Stephenie C. Lemon, Vilma Lora, and Milagros C. Rosal, Ethnicity and Disease. 2017 Winter; 27(1): 3–10. Published online 2017 Jan 19. doi: 10.18865/ed.27.1.3
  3. Strength of Religious Faith of Athletes and Nonathletes at Two NCAA Division III Institutions
  4. Height and Weight May Determine How Long You Can Live—Especially If You're a Woman
  5. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, May 23, 2013
  6. Sedentary lives make many unfit for service, China Daily, 2017
  7. Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales, Discover magazine
  8. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  9. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  10. Sedentary lives make many unfit for service, China Daily, 2017
  11. Physical activity among older Chinese adults living in urban and rural areas: A review by Wenfei Zhu, Aiping Chi Yuliang Sun, Journal of Sport and Health Science Volume 5, Issue 3, September 2016, Pages 281-286
  12. Europe and sedentary lifestyles, World Health Organization, accessed 3-27-2019
  13. Europe and sedentary lifestyles, World Health Organization, accessed 3-27-2019
  14. Heart Foundation Australia - Level of exercise statistics
  15. Stephanie Painter, Vivienne Ryan and Bethany Hiatt, (15 June 2010). "Australians losing the faith". Newspaper. West Australian Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 15 June 2010
  16. God's OK, it's just the religion bit we don't like
  17. Heart Foundation Australia - Level of exercise statistics