Americans Increasingly Sedentary, Not More Active

When the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implemented their first Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008, it was an effort to make Americans move more and, thus, improve their health. However, that hasn’t happened, or so finds a new study published in JAMA Network Open. And while this may mean job security for those in the therapy profession, it does not bode well for the health of Americans.

The JAMA study, which analyzed results from the 27,343 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007 to 2016, set out to find out what percentage of Americans met the activity guidelines, and how that rate may have changed over time since the guidelines’ release. The results were not promising. The percentage of Americans who met the activity guidelines remained mostly unchanged during the 10-year period—starting at 63.2% in 2007-2008, and rising just 2% to 65.2% in 2015-2016. Atop this, researchers marked an increase in sedentary behavior during this time, as well, up from 5.7 hours per day in 2007-2008 to 6.4 hours per day in 2015-2016.

“Our study has significant public health implications. Both insufficient physical activity and prolonged sedentary time are associated with a high risk of adverse health outcomes, including chronic diseases and mortality,” the authors of the study wrote. “Our findings highlight a critical need for future public health efforts to aim for not only an increase in physical activity but also a reduction in sedentary time.”

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