Americans are sitting more – but exercise rates haven’t budged, 10-year study finds
- According to a study on 27,000 adults, 65 percent of people exercised enough in 2016 – a barely significant shift from 2008
- While the rate of people who sit 6 hours a day went from 16 to 19 percent
- The team at the University of Iowa said the results should not be taken lightly
Despite public health efforts to get Americans moving, the nation is sitting more but exercising the same amount, new research reveals.
According to a study on 27,000 adults, 65 percent of people were working out 150 minutes a week in 2016 – a barely significant shift from the 63 percent exercising in 2008, when new, more rigorous guidelines were published.
And yet, a fifth of Americans (20 percent) reported sitting for more than six hours a day, up from 16 percent in 2008 – particularly among people with a college education or higher.
The average number of hours that anyone spent sitting on a daily basis went from 5.7 hours to 6.4.
According to a study on 27,000 adults, 65 percent of people exercised enough in 2016 – a barely significant shift from 2008 – while the rate of people who sit 6 hours a day went from 16 to 19 percent (file image)
The team at the University of Iowa said this disappointing shift, published today in the journal JAMA Network Open, should not be taken lightly.
‘Our study has significant public health implications,’ the authors wrote.
‘Both insufficient physical activity and prolonged sedentary time are associated with a high risk of adverse health outcomes, including chronic diseases and mortality.’
There were some improvements: exercise rates increased among women, African Americans, non-smokers, and people with a ‘normal’ BMI (not underweight or overweight).
What’s more, while sitting time has increased in the last 10 years, it was not one uniform climb: rates spiked in 2013-2014, before dipping down again, albeit slightly.
However, the authors warn, the ‘significant increase in time spent on sedentary behavior’ is something that warrants targeted public health campaigns. Clearly, they say, the efforts thus far have flopped.
In a commentary published with the study, Katrina Piercy, PhD, of the US Department of Health and Human Services, said we should start by focusing on incremental steps.
‘[C]onsidering that currently 25% of adults do no leisure-time physical activity, any increase in physical activity is good,’ Dr Piercy wrote.