Study: 80 Percent of U.S. Adults Don’t Exercise Enough

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Study: 80 Percent of U.S. Adults Don’t Exercise Enough

The fact that three-quarters of American men and more than 60 percent of women are obese or overweight is not exactly news. Many studies have reached the same conclusion. It doesn’t look like people are alerted because they don’t seem to be doing much about it.

Only 22.9 percent of adults in the U.S. are meeting the federal standards for physical activity – at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise each week, which can be walking or jogging, and strength activities at least twice a week.

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The guidelines were set a decade ago. The government’s Healthy People 2020 initiative kicked off two years later in 2010. Its goal was 20.1 percent of adults meeting the recommendations by 2020. The good news is that the goal is surpassed, but the bad news is that it depends where you live and what your job is.

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The latest report from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics raises an alarm that the extent to which adults met these guidelines varies greatly by state, sex, and current work status. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia had significantly higher percentages of adults meeting the minimum recommendation, while 13 states had percentages that were significantly below the national average of 27.2 percent.  

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The percentage of men who met the guidelines varied from 17.7 percent in South Dakota to 40.3 percent in the District of Columbia. Mississippi holds the lowest percentage at 13.5 percent, while the top state was Colorado at 32.5 percent. The states that fall behind are mostly concentrated in the Southeast – Alabama, Florida, Georgia – while those ranking above average are in the West.

Men are more active than women. An average 27.2 percent of men met the guidelines. Meanwhile, an average 18.7 percent of women met the guidelines nationally.

Also, people in professional and managerial occupations were more likely to meet the federal guidelines for adequate exercise than those in production and related occupations.

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