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South Carolina
Physical Inactivity
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Physical Inactivity is the percentage of adults who report doing no physical activity or exercise (such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking) other than their regular job in the last 30 days. The 2013 ranks are based on self-report data from CDC’s 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). In the 2012 Edition, physical inactivity was referred to as sedentary lifestyle. Because of the 2011 change in BRFSS methodology, physical inactivity prevalence from the 2012 Edition onward cannot be directly compared to estimates from previous years (see Methodology).

Regular physical activity is one of the most important elements of a healthy lifestyle. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the following physical activity guidelines for adults[1]:

         All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.

  • For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
  • For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes a week of moderate intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.
  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.

Physical inactivity increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and premature death[2] [3] and it is responsible for an estimated $24 billion in direct medical spending.[4] Increasing physical activity, especially from a complete absence, can not only prevent numerous chronic diseases; it can also help to manage them.[5] It is estimated that physical inactivity is responsible for almost 200,000 or 1 in 10 deaths each year.[6] Physical inactivity is associated with many social and environmental factors as well, including low educational attainment, socioeconomic status, violent crime, and poverty.[7] Even moderate increases in physical activity can greatly reduce risk for adverse health outcomes. The CDC has put together resources and tips on how to add physical activity to your life.

The prevalence of physical inactivity ranges from a high of 31.0 percent or more of adults in Arkansas and West Virginia to less than 17.0 percent of adults in Oregon and Utah. The national median of adults who do not engage in physical activity is 22.9 percent, a 14 percent decrease from 26.2 percent of adults in the 2012 Edition. For physical inactivity prevalence by state and age, gender, race/ethnicity, urbanicity, income, or education level, see Health Disparities within States.

Healthy People 2020’s objective is to reduce the proportion of adults who engage in no leisure-time physical activity by 10.0 percent. In addition, HP2020 has a leading health indicator to increase the proportion of adults who meet objectives for aerobic physical activity and for muscle-strengthening activity.


[1] US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 2008 Physical activity guidelines for Americans. http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf. Accessed October 7, 2013.

[2] Hu FB. Sedentary lifestyle and risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Lipids. 2003;38(2):103.

[3] King AC. Environmental and policy approaches to cardiovascular disease prevention through physical activity: Issues and opportunities. Health Education Behavior. 1995;22(4):499.

[4] Colditz GA. Economic costs of obesity and inactivity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31(11 Suppl):S663-7.

[5] Weiler R, Stamatakis E, Blair S. Should health policy focus on physical activity rather than obesity? Yes. BMJ. 2010;340(7757):1170-1171.

[6] Danaei G. The preventable causes of death in the United States: Comparative risk assessment of dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors. PLoS Medicine. 2009;6(4).

[7] King AC. Personal and environmental factors associated with physical inactivity among different racial–ethnic groups of US middle-aged and older-aged women. Health Psychology. 2000;19(4):354.


SC Physical Inactivity (1997-2013) see more
  • Percent of adults who indicated that they have not participated in any physical activities outside of work during the past month.
  • Percentage of adults who report doing no physical activity or exercise (such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening or walking) other than their regular job in the last 30 days. (2011 BRFSS Methodology)

The measures tracked by America's Health Rankings are those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For a state to improve the health of its population, efforts must focus on these measures, these determinants of health.


State Changes
Over Time
Rank Value Take Action
1997 - South Carolina graph 28 29.7 View Actions
1998 - South Carolina graph 28 29.7 View Actions
1999 - South Carolina graph 41 33.7 View Actions
2000 - South Carolina graph 41 33.7 View Actions
2001 - South Carolina graph 30 28.1 View Actions
2002 - South Carolina graph 31 26.4 View Actions
2003 - South Carolina graph 28 24.6 View Actions
2004 - South Carolina graph 27 23.3 View Actions
2005 - South Carolina graph 30 23.8 View Actions
2006 - South Carolina graph 35 26.3 View Actions
2007 - South Carolina graph 33 24.3 View Actions
2008 - South Carolina graph 38 24.8 View Actions
2009 - South Carolina graph 37 27.2 View Actions
2010 - South Carolina graph 34 26.2 View Actions
2011 - South Carolina graph 42 27.8 View Actions
2012 - South Carolina graph 39 27.2 View Actions
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