Emily Neusel Ussery, MPH PhD Epidemiologist, Physical Activity and Health Branch CDC

Almost Half of US Adults Get No Leisure Time Physical Activity in Typical Week

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emily Neusel Ussery, MPH PhD Epidemiologist, Physical Activity and Health Branch CDC

Dr. Ussery

Emily N Ussery, PhD
LT, US Public Health Service
Physical Activity and Health Branch
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Sitting for too long and being physically inactive can have negative health consequences, and it is important to understand how common these behaviors are among US adults.

This study describes sitting time and leisure-time physical activity reported by US adults in a national survey.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

 Response: We found that 26% of adults sit for more than 8 hours per day, 45% get no leisure-time physical activity in a typical week, and 11% fall into both categories.

Older adults are more likely than younger adults to sit for more than 8 hours per day and get no leisure-time physical activity.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The first key guideline for adults in the recently released Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition is to move more and sit less. This is based on new evidence that shows physical activity can help offset the risks associated with high sedentary behavior, which include increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and all-cause mortality. Our data suggest that a substantial portion of US adults would gain health benefits from reducing the time they spend sitting and engaging in more physical activity.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future research may investigate the joint effects of physical activity and sedentary behavior on health outcomes and premature mortality, and evaluate whether sociodemographic factors influence the association. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Being physically active is one of the most important things people can do to stay healthy. Current evidence shows that physical activity helps prevent 8 types of cancer; reduces the risk of dementia, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, and premature mortality; and helps manage existing health conditions like osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, and anxiety, among other benefits. Every minute of activity helps, whether it is 3 minutes up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, a 10-minute bike ride to the store, or a 20-minute walk during lunch. See the new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition for more information: https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/


Ussery EN, Fulton JE, Galuska DA, Katzmarzyk PT, Carlson SA. Joint Prevalence of Sitting Time and Leisure-Time Physical Activity Among US Adults, 2015-2016. JAMA. 2018;320(19):2036–2038. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.17797

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Last Updated on November 24, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD