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CDC: Many Americans Are Inactive, With Southerners Faring Worse

Agency releases new estimates of physical inactivity across states and U.S. territories

THURSDAY, Jan. 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — More than 15 percent of American adults are physically inactive, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

Today, the agency unveiled new estimates of physical inactivity across states and U.S. territories. The new maps are based on 2015 to 2018 data from an ongoing telephone survey conducted by the CDC and state health departments. The CDC defined inactivity as doing no leisure-time physical activities in the previous month — such as running, walking for exercise, or gardening.

Estimates of physical inactivity ranged from 17.3 percent in Colorado to 47.7 percent in Puerto Rico. Rates in seven states and two territories (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, and Guam) were 30 percent or higher. Southern states had the highest rate of inactivity (28 percent), followed by the Northeast (25.6 percent), Midwest (25 percent), and the West (20.5 percent).

The maps point to racial and ethnic differences in activity levels as well. Hispanics had the highest rate of inactivity (31.7 percent), followed by blacks (30.3 percent) and whites (23.4 percent). Rates were 30 percent or more among whites in five states and Puerto Rico, among Hispanics in 22 states and Puerto Rico, and among blacks in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Inactivity contributes to one in 10 premature deaths in the United States and is associated with $117 billion in annual health care costs, according to the CDC.

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