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Public Health

1 in 4 Americans is not physically active, according to the CDC

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Photo by Daniel Reche from Pexels
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About 1 in 4 Americans is physically inactive, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC defines "inactive" as not taking part in any physical activity outside of work in the past month: No running, no walking, no gardening, etc.

In Texas, that percentage is higher. About 27% of Texans residents are physically inactive — the bottom third of the ranked states.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Prevalence of Self-Reported Physical Inactivity* Among US Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2017–2020

The CDC's newly released maps are based on data from 2017-2020, collected by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a state-based telephone survey conducted by the CDC and state health departments.

Colorado is the most active state, with about 17.7% of respondents classified as "inactive." Puerto Rico is the least active; just about 50% of Puerto Rican respondents were classified as "inactive."

Overall, the South had the highest prevalence of physical inactivity, the CDC reports, at about 27.5%.

The impact is a greater number of premature deaths.

“Getting enough physical activity could prevent 1 in 10 premature deaths,” said Ruth Petersen, MD, Director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, in a press release. “Too many people are missing out on the health benefits of physical activity such as improved sleep, reduced blood pressure and anxiety, lowered risk for heart disease, several cancers, and dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease).

Exercise levels varied widely among race and ethnicity lines, with Asian Americans being the most active and Latinos being the least.

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