A new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests many Americans are falling short of meeting recommended exercise minimums. Confusing guidelines are a contributing factor.
The health of the nation, as a whole, has declined for the fourth consecutive year. Rising obesity rates, persistence of unhealthy behavior such as alcohol and tobacco use and more people without health insurance are all contributing factors.
United Health Foundation, a nonprofit created by UnitedHealth Group in 1990, has compared states on a host of health measures to determine whether the nation’s health is improving or declining.
The CDC surveyed 399,000 individuals by telephone, for the study. The report concludes, “More efforts need to be done to educate Americans about the new guidelines and the health benefits of exercise.”
About one third of U.S. adults failed to meet minimum levels of aerobic activity as defined by the 2008 guidelines. While 65 percent of adults reached the new goals.
Issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the guidelines remove the recommendation of thirty minutes daily to a weekly commitment of 2.5 hours of moderate activity weekly for adults.
The new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans compiles the latest scientific evidence about physical activity and health. This is the first time there has been a revision in a decade.
Healthy People 2010, launched in January 2000 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is a nationwide health promotion and disease prevention agenda. The agenda contains 467 objectives designed to serve as a blueprint for improving the health of all people in the United States during the first decade of the 21st century.
Objectives call for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week, or 20 minutes of energetic activity three days a week. Only 49 percent met these goals in the study.
“Whether the health benefits of 30 minutes of activity, 5 days a week, are any better or worse than the benefits of 50 minutes, 3 days per week, cannot be concluded with current scientific evidence,” according to the report.
Advising people to exercise when they can, may overall be less confusing and intimidating, said the CDC.
Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, and even some cancers. #