Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Heavy Findings in Fitness, Weight Poll

Survey: Few Exercise Frequently or Are Seriously Trying to Lose Weight
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 29, 2006 -- America is heavier than ever, with few people exercising frequently or trying to lose weight.

That news comes from a Gallup survey of about 1,000 U.S. adults (aged 18 and older) polled by phone less than three weeks ago.

Participants reported their height, weight, exercise habits, and whether they are trying to lose weight. Gallup calculated participants' BMI (body mass index), which relates height to weight. The result: Nearly six in 10 adults are overweight or obese.

Nearly 60% said they would "like to lose weight." But only 28% said "yes" when asked if they were currently "seriously trying to lose weight."

The poll doesn't show what percentage of the overweight participants were trying to lose weight.

The CDC's latest figures on America's weight differ from the Gallup poll. According to the CDC, 66% of American adults (age 20 or older) are overweight or obese, as of 2003-2004.

On the Sidelines

Gallup defined "frequent" exercise as working out five or more days per week. Nearly two-thirds of participants didn't meet that standard.

"The average American engages in moderate exercise three days a week, and 29% do so at least five days a week," states Gallup.

Vigorous exercise -- defined by Gallup as getting at least 20 minutes of sports or physical activities that cause large increases in breathing or heart rate -- was even rarer.

"Only 12% of Americans claim to do so on at least five days of the week," states Gallup. "The average American engages in vigorous exercise less than two days per week."

Changing Our Ways

Want to buck the trends seen in the Gallup poll?

First, check in with your doctor about healthy weight loss and a safe exercise program, especially if you've been idle a while.

Next, consider the CDC's recommendation for adult physical activity: Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on five or more days of the week.

Here are some specific examples of moderate-intensity physical activity:

  • Walking at a moderate or brisk pace of 3 to 4.5 miles per hour on a level surface.
  • Hiking
  • Biking 5-9 miles per hour on level terrain or with few hills
  • Yoga
  • Using a stair-climber machine at a light-to-moderate pace
  • Golfing (wheeling or carrying clubs)

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

Wet feet on shower floor tile
Slideshow
Flat Abs
Slideshow
 
Build a Better Butt Slideshow
Slideshow
woman using ice pack
Quiz
 

man exercising
Article
7 most effective exercises
Interactive
 
Man looking at watch before workout
Slideshow
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

pilates instructor
Slideshow
jogger running among flowering plants
Video
 
woman walking
Article
Taylor Lautner
Article