Expert: The end to sedentary lifestyles is in sight

July 15, 2010
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One of the great trends of our time, the descent into sedentary living, is about to undergo a reversal, predicts the executive director of Indiana University’s outdoor learning center. Bradford Woods’ John Koenig says the physical and social costs are becoming such a big problem that elected officials and businesses will both encourage and force changes.

The physical issues are well-documented—obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease. But Koenig notes that further research now suggests lack of exercise might even contribute to attention deficit disorder. In other words, there are consequences for the brain.

“More and more of our public officials are starting to take a look at this,” Koenig says. “We’re going to see a trend toward trying to improve this whole picture. It is having deleterious effects on children and adults.”

We didn’t become couch potatoes overnight, and the problems won’t be solved anytime soon, he says.

Several factors play into the problem. We work behind computers and play a lot of video games; weekends, particularly for harried single parents and two-career households, are earmarked for household tasks instead of outdoor activities. Parents and children park in front of televisions and eat junk food; parks aren’t close enough to be convenient; parents fear sending their kids outside to play; schools minimize physical education in order to hit academic benchmarks.

Even some sports aren’t particularly healthy. Baseball and softball, which mostly involve standing or sitting, are examples.

Koenig anticipates Congress funding some form of No Child Left Inside, the initiative to include environmental education as part of No Child Left Behind. Greater knowledge and understanding of nature might lure more Americans back to parks and hiking trails, reasons Koenig and other No Child Left Inside advocates.

Businesses, which are saddled with many of the health care costs resulting from sedentary lifestyles, also will increasingly push employees to get active, he adds.

Is Koenig right, that the sedentary trend is nearing an end?

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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