Physical Activity Rising in U.S. Adults

CDC Reports Nearly a 9% Jump in Adults Who Say They Exercise or Are Physically Active

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on November 21, 2007

Nov. 21, 2007 -- More U.S. adults are making fitness a habit, according to the CDC.

The CDC today reported that the percentage of U.S. adults reporting regular exercise or physical activity jumped nearly 9% from 2001 to 2005.

Those findings came from telephone surveys of more than 205,000 adults in 2001 and more than 356,000 adults in 2005.

Participants answered questions about how often and how long they get moderate or vigorous physical activity.

Moderate physical activities included walking, biking, and gardening -- anything that nudges your heart rate up a little bit.

Vigorous physical activities included running and aerobics -- the sort of activity that really pushes your heart rate and breathing.

The CDC totaled the number of people who meet at least one of these standards:

  • Moderate physical activity: At least 30 minutes per day on 5 or more days per week
  • Vigorous physical activity: At least 20 minutes per day on 3 or more days per week

In 2005, nearly half of the men -- 49.7% -- and almost as many women -- 46.7% -- met those benchmarks.

That's an increase of almost 4% for men and nearly 9% for women compared with the 2001 survey.

African-American men and women made the largest gains in their physical activity and exercise statistics.

The findings are a step in the right direction. But the CDC points out that fewer than half of U.S. adults meet the government's minimum standards for physical activity.

Translation: Way to go, but don't stop now.

If you're ready to step up your physical activity level, don't do too much too soon -- and check in with your doctor first.

The CDC published its findings in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Show Sources

SOURCES: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Nov. 23, 2007; vol 56: pp 1209-1212. News release, CDC.

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