Skip to Main Content

We have a new app!

Take the Access library with you wherever you go—easy access to books, videos, images, podcasts, personalized features, and more.

Download the Access App here: iOS and Android



By studying this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Contrast infectious with degenerative diseases as causes of death.

  2. Identify the three major categories of risk factors and examples of specific risk factors in each.

  3. Describe the difference between primary and secondary risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD).

  4. Characterize physical inactivity as a coronary heart disease risk factor comparable to smoking, hypertension, and high serum cholesterol.

  5. Describe the process of atherosclerosis related to coronary heart disease.

  6. Describe the role of low-grade chronic inflammation in the development of chronic diseases.

  7. Describe the metabolic syndrome and possible causes.

  8. Describe the role of diet and physical activity from an anti-inflammatory standpoint.

  9. Describe the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the role of physical activity for treatment of both conditions.

  10. Describe the role of physical activity for the prevention of many common forms of cancer, and the influence on cancer treatment, recurrence, and survival.


Physical Activity and Health

  • The Dose-Response Relationship between Physical Activity and Health

Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases

  • Inherited/Biological

  • Environmental

  • Behavioral

Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease

  • Sedentary Behavior and All-Cause Mortality

  • The Risk of Physical Inactivity Versus the Benefits of Being Active

  • Physical Activity and Hypertension

  • Physical Activity and Obesity

  • Physical Activity and Dyslipidemia

Inflammation and Coronary Heart Disease

  • Obesity, Inflammation, and Chronic Disease

  • Healthy Eating and Physical Activity to Combat Inflammation

The Metabolic Syndrome

  • Risk Factors and the Metabolic Syndrome

  • Comorbidities and the Metabolic Syndrome

  • Inflammation and Oxidative Stress as Causes of the Metabolic Syndrome


  • The Prevalence and Diagnosis of Diabetes

  • Type 1 Diabetes

  • Type 2 Diabetes

  • The Clinical Progression of Type 2 Diabetes

  • Type 2 Diabetes and the Benefits of Physical Activity


  • The Link Between Physical

  • Activity, Cancer Prevention, and Disease Occurrence

  • Cancer Treatment and Survival

  • Muscle and Bone Mineral Density Loss in Cancer Patients Undergoing Treatment

  • Physical Activity and Cancer Survival

  • Physical Activity and Exercise During Chemotherapy

  • The Role of Physical Activity in Terminally Ill Cancer Patients

Key Terms



degenerative diseases



infectious diseases

low-grade chronic inflammation

metabolic syndrome


primary risk factor

secondary risk factor

type 1 diabetes

type 2 diabetes

web of causation

Worldwide, the leading causes of disease and death are related to lifestyle behaviors. Figure 15.1 presents recent statistics that outline the leading causes of death on an annual basis. Of the top six causes of mortality, five are directly related to lifestyle behaviors like being physically inactive and consuming an unhealthy diet (37). While these data represent death rates in the United States, the numbers are similar in industrialized nations throughout the world. There is absolutely no question that physical inactivity is a major risk factor for numerous chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer (87). In this section of the textbook, the Physiology of Health and Fitness, we focus on the importance of ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.