Only 1 in 5 Americans Getting Recommended Amounts of Exercise

Health & Fitness

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iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Not enough of us are getting the right amount of exercise, according to a weekly report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report says only about 20 percent, or one in five, U.S. adults are meeting the federal government’s recommendations for physical activity, which includes aerobic and muscle strengthening components.

Government health officials recommend adults get at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as walking, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as jogging or a combination of both.  The recommendations also call for muscle strengthening activities such as push-ups, sit-ups or lifting weights.

The data, based on self-reported information from an annual phone survey by state health department, shows that 50 percent of U.S. adults are getting the recommended amounts of aerobic activity, and 30 percent are engaging in strength training.

“Although only 20 percent of adults are meeting the overall physical activity recommendations, it is encouraging that half the adults in the United States are meeting the aerobic guidelines and a third are meeting the muscle-strengthening recommendations,” said Carmen D. Harris, M.P.H, epidemiologist in CDC’s physical activity and health branch.  

Harris added that this data provides a great foundation to build on, but stressed that there is still work to do. “Improving access to safe and convenient places where people can be physically active can help make the active choice the easy choice,” she said.

Other key findings in the CDC report:

  • The West and the Northeast regions had the highest proportion of adults who met the guidelines, with 24 percent and 21 percent respectively.
  • Women, Hispanics, older adults and obese adults were all less likely to meet the guidelines.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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