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A quarter of US adults are physically inactive: CDC report

Story at a glance

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the results of a new report on the prevalence of physical inactivity among American adults.
  • The report found about 25 percent of adults are considered physically inactive.
  • Physical inactivity can contribute to serious health conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity.

Making an effort to exercise everyday hasn’t been a priority for many Americans, as a new report found 25 percent of U.S. adults are physically inactive, with activity rates varying from coast to coast. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the results of a national, state-based telephone survey that asked respondents if they did any physical activity outside their regular job in the past month. The survey found that the national prevalence of physical inactivity was 25.3 percent, with the highest inactivity rate in Puerto Rico and the lowest in Colorado.  

Respondents were asked if they had participated in any physical activities outside of work, like running, golfing, gardening or walking. 

Answers varied depending on where respondents were located, as four states, Colorado, Utah, Washington and Vermont, had a physical inactivity prevalence of 17.7 percent to less than 20 percent. 


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On the flip side, seven states, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Albama, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi and Puerto Rico, all had a physical inactivity prevalence of 30 percent or more. 

Those figures reflect regional differences, as the U.S. South had a 27.5 percent prevalence of physical inactivity, followed by the Midwest at 25.2 percent, Northeast at 24.7 percent and the West at 21 percent.  

There were also variations in race and ethnicity, with non-Hispanic Asian adults having a 20 percent prevalence of physical inactivity, while non-Hispanic Whites had a 23 percent rate, non-Hispanic Blacks a 30 percent rate and Hispanic adults a 32 percent inactivity rate.  

“Reducing physical inactivity requires a comprehensive effort from many groups—including states, communities, worksites, and individuals—to make it easier for everyone to move more,” said the CDC. 

The CDC also noted that racial and ethnic disparities in physical inactivity underscores the barriers to physical activity, like a lack of safe spaces such as parks, unsafe streets with lots of traffic and no sidewalks. Things like lack of time and lack of social support play a factor too.  

The health repercussions of not getting enough physical activity can be severe, as the CDC warns that heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer are some of the risk factors, along with obesity. People of all ages and conditions can benefit from more physical activity, as it contributes to normal growth and development, reduces risk of chronic diseases, helps people function better throughout the day and sleep better at night.  


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Published on Jan 31,2022

Longevity