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One in five adults meets physical activity guidelines


About 20% of U.S. adults meet both the aerobic and muscle strengthening components of the federal government’s physical activity recommendations, according to a CDC report.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as walking, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as jogging, or a combination of both.

The guidelines also recommend that adults perform muscle-strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups or activities using resistance bands or weights. These activities should involve all major muscle groups and be done on two or more days per week.

Nearly 50% of survey respondents reported getting the recommended amounts of aerobic activity, and about 30% engage in the recommended amount of muscle-strengthening activity, according to the data.

The report, published in the May 3 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, is based on self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The BRFSS is an annual phone survey of adults 18 and older that is conducted by state health departments.

“Although only 20% of adults are meeting the overall physical activity recommendations, it is encouraging that half the adults in the United States are meeting the aerobic guidelines and a third are meeting the muscle-strengthening recommendations,” Carmen D. Harris, MPH, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s physical activity and health branch, said in a news release.

“This is a great foundation to build upon, but there is still much work to do. Improving access to safe and convenient places where people can be physically active can help make the active choice the easy choice.”

At the state level, the rates of adults meeting the overall guidelines ranged from 27% in Colorado to 13% in Tennessee and West Virginia. The West (24%) and the Northeast (21%) had the highest proportion of adults who met the guidelines. Women, Hispanics, older adults and obese adults were less likely to meet the guidelines.

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Get information on the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans:


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