31 Million Americans Age 50 Years And Older Lack Exercise

According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention news release, a new study has shown that 31 million Americans (28 percent) age 50 years and older are inactive – that is, they are not physically active beyond the basic movements needed for daily life activities.

The report noted that this is despite the many benefits moderate physical activity affords.

“Adults benefit from any amount of physical activity,” said Janet E. Fulton, Ph.D., chief of CDC’s Physical Activity and Health Branch and one of the authors of the report.

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She added that “Helping inactive people become more physically active is an important step towards healthier and more vibrant communities.”

The CDC analysis and findings have shown the following:

Higher inactivity for women (29.4 percent) compared with men (25.5 percent)

Varied percentage of inactivity by race and ethnicity — Hispanics (32.7 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (33.1 percent), non-Hispanic whites (26.2 percent), and other groups (27.1 percent)

Significant increase in inactivity with age —  25.4 percent for adults 50-64 years, 26.9 percent for people 65-74 years, and 35.3 percent for people 75 years and older

More adults with at least one chronic disease were inactive (31.9 percent) compared with adults with no chronic disease (19.2 percent)

Inactivity was highest in the South (30.1 percent) followed by the Midwest (28.4 percent) and in the Northeast (26.6 percent). Inactivity was lowest in the West (23.1 percent)

The percentage of inactivity ranged from 17.9 percent in Colorado to 38.8 percent in Arkansas.

The percentage of inactivity decreased as education increased and also increased as weight status increased

The report noted that physical activity reduces the risk of premature death and can delay or prevent many chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.

It also underscores the point that as adults grow older, they are more likely to be living with a chronic disease and these diseases are major drivers of sickness and disability.

“More work is needed to make it safer and easier for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active in their communities,” lead author Kathleen Watson said in a CDC news release. Watson is an epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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