Less than half US adults get enough exercise: report

Updated: 2012-08-08 13:40


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Around 48 percent of all US adults get enough physical activity to improve their health, said a government study released Tuesday.

Sixty-two percent of adults say they walked for at least once for 10 minutes or more in the previous week in 2010, compared to 56 percent in 2005, according to the new Vital Signs report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For substantial health benefits, the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least two hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as brisk walking. This activity should be done for at least 10 minutes at a time.

"People who are physically active live longer and are at lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden in a statement. " Having more places for people to walk in our communities will help us continue to see increases in walking, the most popular form of physical activity among American adults."

The report notes that increases in walking were seen in nearly all groups surveyed. Walkers were defined as those who walked for at least one session of 10 minutes or more for transportation, fun or exercise. In the West, roughly 68 percent of people walk, more than any other region in the country. People living in the South had the largest increase in the percentage of people who walk, up by nearly eight percentage points from about 49 percent in 2005 to 57 percent in 2010.

The report also found that more adults with arthritis or hypertension are walking and there was no increase in walking among adults with type 2 diabetes.

"It is encouraging to see these increases in the number of adults who are now walking," said Joan Dorn, branch chief of the Physical Activity and Health Branch in CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. "But there is still room for improvement. People need more safe and convenient places to walk. People walk more where they feel protected from traffic and safe from crime."