One of the worlds grandest challenges is the need to keep the world's population healthy. Nutrition and physical activity are important factors that can impact health worldwide. On this expedition we will explore health care in the developing world with a special focus on the challenges children and families face with regard to nutrition and exercise. At the same time, the members of the expedition will take part in experiments that will investigate how the human body functions in the extreme desert environment. We will look at the effects of endurance exercise, heat, and hydration and how the body adapts over the course of the expedition.
The two main risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer are nutrition and physical activity. These risk factors can be problematic for humans in many ways. For example, over-nutrition can cause cardiovascular disease and diabetes and under-nutrition can cause malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. Globally, the burden of non-communicable diseases is increasing but exercise, physical activity and optimal nutrition can help prevent and treat diseases. The team member will explore these topics on the expedition and share our findings with the people following along around the world. We will also have experiments that can be done in the classroom which we will compare to data that we collect during the expedition.
According to the World Health Organization, physical activity is a fundamental means of improving the physical and mental health of individuals all over the world. Similarly, decreasing levels of physical activity contribute to the development of non-communicable diseases. There is a tremendous opportunity for people to live healthier, longer lives, to reduce inequalities and to enhance development around the world by improving diet and promoting physical activity. During the expedition the team members will measure their energy intake and expenditure during our daily activities. Classrooms will be encouraged to measure the energy that is spent on their daily activities and also to identify low and high energy foods.
Physical activity is a key determinant of how much energy we expend during the day and is fundamental to energy balance and weight control. It also decreases the risk of many diseases. In this research activity the expedition team will explore how to exercise safely in extreme environments like the desert. We will talk about exercise in the heat, how to protect yourself when exercising outdoors in the sun, and the importance of saying hydrated.