Thursday, July 19, 2012

Deficits and Disorders

   A deficit is not the same thing as a disorder and you can have one without having the other.  Today's post regards a term that I first read in a publication from the American College of Sport's Medicine.  I do not know who coined it, or where it originated, but I am very uncomfortable with it.  The acronym is EDD and I will get to that in a moment.

   First. How do we define the two words.  What do they mean?  Deficit.  Deficiency.  Before one can be deficient in a "thing" a standard must exist.  The standard is usually an amount of a substance or attribute that is necessary for a system to function.  A system could be a body, a business, the economy and even the food supply.  (I hear there is going to be a corn deficiency)

   For the body, it has been established that a certain level of iron is needed to prevent anemia.  Vitamin C protects against scurvy and vitamin D, scurvy.  In the current year (2012), very few persons who live in developed countries suffer from any of the above deficiencies.  We get enough protein and iron, Vitamins C and D.  A greater percentage of persons are low in Vitamin D putting them at risk for bone weakening, but it is still less than a majority of persons.  It is now normal to have adequate levels of iron, D and C.  Normal because most people are sufficient.  The average person does not have a deficiency.

   I bring up this normal and average business because I consider a disorder to be something that is NOT the norm/average. I.e. it is 'out of the usual' order.  Dis = "the absence of" order (normal). 

  This brings me to the term I have dis taste for - Exercise Deficiency Disorder (EDD).  Sounds too much like a disease that someone will try to medicate.  Exercise in a pill.  The ACSM article encouraged exercise specialists to identify children who did not meet the daily requirements (standard) for physical activity.  

   Children should be engaged in moderate to vigorous exercise for 60 minutes a day.  Clearly I believe that exercise is necessary for health - as I said yesterday, the sine qua non.  I fully support the recommendations for 30-60 m a day.  I agree 100% that the majority of adults and children, worldwide, are deficient in meeting this goal.  However, if the majority of us are not doing it - then the norm is the deficiency.  It is normal.  It is tragic.  We need to do something about it.  But exercise deficiency is not a disorder.  Let's leave the labels for our restaurant menus and not add another diagnostic code with which to label our children.

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