Wei Bao, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Epidemiology College of Public Health University of Iowa

Americans Still Exercising Too Little, Sitting Too Much

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wei Bao, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Epidemiology College of Public Health University of Iowa

Dr. Wei Bao

Wei Bao, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology
College of Public Health,
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242 

and Yang Du
University of Iowa

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

Response: In 2008, the US Department of Health and Human Services released the first federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommended that people should do at least 150 minutes moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. This key recommendation has been reaffirmed in the 2018 recently updated Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. In addition, the new 2018 Guidelines for the first time discussed health risks of sedentary behaviors.

Insufficient physical activity and long sitting time have long been recognized as risk factors for major chronic diseases and mortality. Therefore, we were curious whether there have been a significant changes in adherence to the Physical Activity Guidelines in US adults since the release of the first edition of the federal guidelines in 2008 and whether sedentary behavior in US adults changed during the same period.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Our study found that the proportion of US adults meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic activity did not significantly increase from 2007 through 2016, but the time spent on sedentary behavior increased significantly over time.

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

Response: Our results highlighted a critical need to promote an active lifestyle, which includes both moving more and sitting less. 

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

Response: The new Physical Activity Guidelines recommend Americans to engage in both aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activity. This study mainly focused on adherence to the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic activity give the availability of data. It would be important to estimate the adherence rate to the Physical Activity Guidelines for muscle-strengthening activity. Further, estimating physical activity levels among children would also be interesting.

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

Response: We would like to emphasize that the current Physical Activity Guidelines refer to all domains of aerobic activity, including leisure-time, work-related, and transportation-related aerobic activity. This study estimated the adherence rate based on all the three domains of aerobic activity, while previous studies usually focused only on leisure-time physical activity. Therefore, direct comparison between our study and such previous studies might not be meaningful.

We have no disclosure.


 Du Y, Liu B, Sun Y, Snetselaar LG, Wallace RB, Bao W. Trends in Adherence to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans for Aerobic Activity and Time Spent on Sedentary Behavior Among US Adults, 2007 to 2016. JAMA Netw Open. Published online July 26, 20192(7):e197597. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.7597



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Last Updated on July 31, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD