15 percent of people in the US are physically inactive, CDC report says

The new year may have motivated people to jot down their fitness goals, but a new country-wide map of inactivity in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), may show that this might not be feasible unless people start to become more physically active.

In a new report by the CDC, over 15 percent of adults in all starts report leading a sedentary lifestyle, which means that they have little to no physical activity. Throughout the states of the country, the estimate of inactive constituents ranged between 17.3 to 47.7 percent.

Image Credit: txking / Shutterstock
Image Credit: txking / Shutterstock

Physical inactivity is defined as people who do not get the recommended level of regular physical activity. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to promote cardiovascular health. The time allotted for exercise can be divided into smaller amounts, for instance, 25 minutes every day of 30 minutes five times a week. The activities that can be beneficial for overall health include, walking, exercising, running, or gardening, among others.

By state, Colorado had the lowest number of people who live a sedentary lifestyle or physical inactivity at 17.3 percent, while Puerto Rico had the highest prevalence at 47.7 percent. According to U.S. regions, however, the West had the lowest prevalence at 20.5 percent while the South had the highest prevalence of physical inactivity at 28 percent.

According to race, Hispanics had the greatest number of people with self-reported physical inactivity at 31.7 percent. Non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites followed with prevalence rates of 31.7 percent and 30.3 percent, respectively.

“Too many adults are inactive, and they may not know how much it affects their health. Being physically active helps you sleep better, feel better and reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers,” Dr. Ruth Petersen, Director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, said in a statement.

The researchers based their study findings on self-reported data and actual rates of physical inactivity.

What can be done?

The government and the health sector, including CDC is working with communities across the U.S. to make it safer, easier and more convenient for people to live an active life, especially in places where people play, work, learn, and live. This effort is part of a bigger project of the health sector, the Active People, Healthy Nation initiative.

The goal of the initiative is to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027 to help improve overall health and quality of life. Aside from that, they want to reduce healthcare costs related to living a sedentary lifestyle.

The CDC recommends that people engage in physical activity and incorporate it into their daily lives. Simple activities such as household chores, brisk walking, hiking, choosing the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, walking the dog, walking or cycling, and parking further away, among others, can help increase physical activity. In addition, CDC says that the key to being more active is to sit less and move more.

In schools and workplaces, the CDC encourages community leaders to conduct physical activity programs for students and workers. Also, it’s important to raise awareness of the health effects of being sedentary and educate them on the importance of being proactive in their health.

Physical inactivity effects on health

Physical inactivity can lead to premature death and is linked to $117 billion in annual health care costs, according to the CDC. About one in 10 premature deaths can be tied to not being physically active, which includes about 12 percent of breast and colorectal cancers, and approximately 7 percent of heart disease cases.


CDC Maps America’s High Levels of Inactivity: Physical inactivity differs by state, region, race, and ethnicity - https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/0116-americas-inactivity.html

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

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Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

Angela is a nurse by profession and a writer by heart. She graduated with honors (Cum Laude) for her Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Baguio, Philippines. She is currently completing her Master's Degree where she specialized in Maternal and Child Nursing and worked as a clinical instructor and educator in the School of Nursing at the University of Baguio.


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