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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)

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Physical Inactivity

United States Physical Inactivity (1997-2014) 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)
Ranking Value State
1 16.2 Colorado
2 16.6 Oregon
3 18.6 California
4 18.8 Vermont
5 19 Washington
6 19.1 Utah
7 20.5 New Hampshire
8 20.6 Alaska
9 20.7 Hawaii
10 20.8 Wisconsin
11 21 Massachusetts
12 21.2 Minnesota
13 21.4 Montana
14 21.9 Maine
15 22 Idaho
15 22 Nevada
15 22 New Mexico
18 22.3 South Dakota
19 22.8 Connecticut
20 23 Arizona
20 23 Michigan
20 23 Virginia
23 23.2 Wyoming
24 23.3 Maryland
25 23.5 Nebraska
26 23.6 Illinois
27 24.1 New Jersey
27 24.1 Pennsylvania
29 24.2 New York
29 24.2 Rhode Island
31 24.5 Georgia
32 24.8 South Carolina
33 25 Kansas
34 25.1 North Carolina
35 25.6 Florida
36 25.8 North Dakota
37 26.2 Delaware
37 26.2 Ohio
39 26.5 Iowa
40 26.8 Missouri
41 27.3 Texas
42 27.4 Kentucky
43 28.3 Indiana
44 29.2 Alabama
45 30.3 Louisiana
46 30.7 West Virginia
47 31.1 Oklahoma
48 31.5 Arkansas
49 33.6 Tennessee
50 35.2 Mississippi

Highlights

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Physical Inactivity
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Overview

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).

The prevalence of physical inactivity ranges from a high of 35.2% of adults in MIssissippi to 16.2% of adults in Colorado. The national median of adults who do not engage in physical activity is 23.5%, a slight increase from 22.9% of adults in the 2013 Edition. For physical inactivity prevalence by state and age, gender, race/ethnicity, urbanicity, income, or education level, see Health Disparities within States.

 

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.

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.