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The Cost of Obesity in the USA in 2013 Keeps Rising
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U.S. Inactivity Levels Stabilize

U.S. Inactivity Levels Stabilize

80 Million Americans Still Remain Inactive

SILVER SPRING, MD – May 20, 2014 – The release of the Physical Activity Council’s  annual study shows signs of both progress and huge opportunities to overcome the inactivity pandemic in the U.S.PAC logo

One of the optimistic signs is there may be a stabilization of inactivity levels in the U.S.  Right now, approximately 28% of all Americans are totally sedentary or were not active once in the past year in 120 different sports or activities.  There is also an increase in the number of Americans who are ‘active to healthy standards’, those who are active at least three times per week. In 2013, nearly 100 million Americans were ‘active to healthy standards’, up nearly 3.9 million from 2012.  

The biggest area of increased activity is with the 55+ year old categories -- ages 55-64 and 65+.  Each group was 1.1% more active in 2013 versus 2012.

There are other signs that are not as positive. Nearly 80 million Americans remain totally inactive and some age groups are showing increased levels of inactivity!  

Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America, puts things in perspective. “While there may be stabilization in inactivity rates, we have 80 million Americans who are ‘couch potatoes’. And, while some age groups are showing increasing levels of activity, others, like the 13 – 17 year olds, seem to becoming more sedentary. We must not ever be complacent in our fight to overcome the inactivity pandemic for every age category.  We must make activity, sport and fitness a greater priority for total health – for the body, mind and spirit.”

The new Physical Activity Council study states that three out of the four most popular fitness pursuits in the U.S. involve either walking or running. Walking for fitness is America’s #1 activity with 117 million Americans who were engaged in the activity at least once in the last year, which is up from 110 million from 2008.  Besides walking for fitness and running/jogging, exercising on a treadmill is the other high-ranking fitness pursuit that involves either walking or running.

Some of the leading doctors and authorities in the U.S. on fitness and health are offering their opinions on the inactivity pandemic and importance of getting active.

“If Americans want to live longer or just become more healthy, we must increase activity and fitness levels,” says Dr. Steven Blair, Professor; Department of Exercise Science and Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Arnold School of Public Health; University of South Carolina.  “Walking and running are two great activities, which are easily accessible exercise options.”

The issue of being active is so critical that Dr. Blair has declared that “physical inactivity is the biggest public health problem in the 21st Century.”
“I think the concept of trying to build activity throughout your day is so important. And it makes you healthier,” says Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine doctor/author/marathoner, New York’s (NY) Hospital for Special Surgery.  “I encourage every one of my patients to move as much as they can.”

“Opportunities for children to participate in physical activity are the foundation of prevention not only for obesity and physical health, but mental health, self-confidence, and a lifetime of enjoying activity,” says Asheley Cockrell Doctors LogoSkinner, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.Doctors for a PHIT America
Blair, Metzl, and Skinner are all members of a new Alliance, Doctors for a PHIT America, a group of medical doctors that are committed to a mission of creating a Movement for a Fit & Healthy America.  PHIT America is leading this movement.

“We have a committed and effective four-prong approach which includes education, supporting local grassroots and physical education programs, combined with supporting ‘pro-activity’ federal legislation. The final piece of our plan is to get key companies, organizations and local influencers to work together to execute this plan. We know this is the formula to making America more active, fit and healthy,” says Baugh.  You can learn more about PHIT America and this approach at PHITAmerica.org.

It’s worth noting that the month of May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month in the U.S.

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