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76% of Men Meet Exercise Guidelines by Combining Work and Leisure Activity

May 26, 2011 -- Walking or performing physically demanding work on the job helps U.S. adults meet minimum physical activity guidelines that could lead to better health, the CDC says in a new report.

The report is based on a survey of nearly 386,400 U.S. adults who answered questions about their physical activity on and off the job.

About 64% of participants said they met minimum physical activity guidelines in their free time. That includes 68.5% of men and 60.4% of women.

Adding on-the-job physical activity pushed those percentages to about 76% for men and nearly 66% for women.

People met physical activity guidelines if they reported at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activity (with vigorous-intensity activity minutes multiplied by two) totaling at least 150 minutes.

For the survey, occupational physical activity was defined as work activity consisting mostly of walking while at work or doing heavy labor or physically demanding work. Of all participants, Hispanic men and men with less than a high school education were most likely to report this type of physical activity on the job.

Meeting minimum guidelines for physical activity is important for maintaining healthy weight and reducing the risk of obesity and health problems such as diabetes.

The study appears in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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