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:
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.
Physical inactivity increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and premature death  and it is responsible for an estimated $24 billion in direct medical spending. Increasing physical activity, especially from a complete absence, can not only prevent numerous chronic diseases; it can also help to manage them. It is estimated that physical inactivity is responsible for almost 200,000 or 1 in 10 deaths each year. Physical inactivity is associated with many social and environmental factors as well, including low educational attainment, socioeconomic status, violent crime, and poverty. 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.
 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.
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 King AC. Environmental and policy approaches to cardiovascular disease prevention through physical activity: Issues and opportunities. Health Education Behavior. 1995;22(4):499.
 Colditz GA. Economic costs of obesity and inactivity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31(11 Suppl):S663-7.
 Weiler R, Stamatakis E, Blair S. Should health policy focus on physical activity rather than obesity? Yes. BMJ. 2010;340(7757):1170-1171.
 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).
 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.
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.
|1997 - Vermont||8||21.5||View Actions|
|1998 - Vermont||8||21.5||View Actions|
|1999 - Vermont||20||26.0||View Actions|
|2000 - Vermont||20||26.0||View Actions|
|2001 - Vermont||11||23.2||View Actions|
|2002 - Vermont||7||20.3||View Actions|
|2003 - Vermont||5||18.3||View Actions|
|2004 - Vermont||7||18.7||View Actions|
|2005 - Vermont||5||18.1||View Actions|
|2006 - Vermont||7||19.2||View Actions|
|2007 - Vermont||5||17.9||View Actions|
|2008 - Vermont||6||18.3||View Actions|
|2009 - Vermont||5||19.4||View Actions|
|2010 - Vermont||8||20.2||View Actions|
|2011 - Vermont||2||17.9||View Actions|
|2012 - Vermont||5||21.0||View Actions|