Less than one-quarter of all Americans get enough exercise, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). And here, “enough exercise” refers to the guidelines set by the federal government.
As Time reports, the CDC has laid out exacting guidelines for what constitutes “enough exercise.” Specifically, adults should get 150 minutes of “moderate” or 75 minutes of “vigorous” exercise each week, as well as “muscle-strengthening activities” at least twice per week.
Only 23 percent of American adults meet those guidelines (the report didn’t mention children, but you can be certain that childhood obesity is as big a problem in the U.S. as adult obesity, if not bigger). Breaking down the data even further, 32 percent meet one or the other criterion, while 45 percent meet neither.
As far as gender: men were more likely to meet both guidelines (27 percent) than women (19 percent).
Breaking down the numbers still further, the report found that people who have jobs are more likely to get the suggested amount of exercise than people who are unemployed, which The Atlantic speculates has to do with the cost of gym membership.
One thing that the report left out is how the numbers are affected by people who exercise as a means of getting to work, via walking, jogging, or bicycling. Nor did the report factor in people whose very jobs are physically demanding and thus get exercise by virtue of being at work, such as loggers or athletes.
As far as which states get enough exercise, Colorado comes in at No. 1, with 32.5 percent of adults hitting both federal benchmarks, with Mississippi in last place at 13.5 percent. In fact, so unhealthy is the Southeast that the region has been referred to as the “Stroke Belt.”
When looking at at state-by-state comparison, several factors emerge that point to why their residents aren’t getting enough exercise. Poverty, for example, is a huge problem, making it harder for people to afford gym memberships; and indeed, some places even lack sidewalks for residents to walk or jog on. Climate is another issue: in Mississippi, for example, for much of the year, it’s too hot to exercise outside. Compare that to, say, Colorado or Minnesota, both of which have much more agreeable weather when it comes to outside activity.
The benefits of exercise are, of course, not in dispute. The CDC urges Americans to try to squeeze in more exercise into their daily lives.