Study examines adherence of U.S. adults to physical activity guidelines

The proportion of U.S. adults adhering to the "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans" from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services didn't significantly improve between 2007 and 2016 but time spent sitting increased. The first edition of the federal guidelines recommending types and duration of physical activity were released in 2008 and updated in 2018, including a recommendation to spend less time sitting.

This study used nationally representative survey data from about 27,000 adults to examine adherence to the recommendations for aerobic activity, as well as sedentary behavior from 2007 to 2016. Study authors report 65.2% met the guidelines for aerobic activity in 2015-2016, compared with 63.2% in 2007-2008, while time spent sitting increased from 5.7 hours per day in 2007-2008 to 6.4 hours per day in 2015-2016. The proportion of people not meeting the recommendations for aerobic activity and sitting more than six hours a day increased from 16.1% to 18.8% during this same period. A limitation of the study is that the information on physical activity and sitting time was self-reported.

Journal reference:

Du, Y. et al. (2019) Trends in Adherence to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans for Aerobic Activity and Time Spent on Sedentary Behavior Among US Adults, 2007 to 2016. JAMA Network Open.


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