This is an in-depth exploration of the social forces that perpetuate a sedentary lifestyle. Mary McElroy provides an insightful analysis of the social problems associated with physical inactivity and recommends solutions for re-engineering environmental and social institutions to increase physical activity. Part 1 describes the scope of the sedentary living problem in contemporary society and offers a history of physical activity and health throughout the 20th century. Part 2 discusses the role of changing families and the impact of school, work environments and the health care system on exercise. Part 3 analyzes how the social institutions discussed in part 2 and the community at large affect attitudes toward physical activity. The text aims to broaden and expand current notions about individual responsibility for lifestyle changes. This book should help health and fitness programme administrators to better understand the social forces that influence people's resistance to participation in physical activity. In addition, it should motivate physical activity professionals to continue their promotion of the major health benefits associated with an active lifestyle.