Americans are exercising more, but it hasn’t made a dent into the epidemic of obesity in this country. LA Times writer Noam Levey is reporting on new research on physical fitness in the US, and he says the news is mixed.
In more than two-thirds of the nation’s counties, men and women became more physically active over the last 10 years.
Women made the most progress, with a 5% increase in the number of females who got sufficient exercise each week. The number of guys who increased their level of fitness went up just one percent.
But researchers at the University of Washington say these improvements haven’t done much to reduce obesity. In fact obesity rates for men and women fell in just nine counties.
Dr. Christopher Murray, lead author of the study, says : “To tackle obesity, we need to do this. But we probably also need to do more. … Just counting on physical activity is not going to be the solution.”
Today, more than one-third of U.S. adults and approximately 17% of children are clinically obese. Many health experts believe that changing diet may do more to bring those numbers down than increasing exercise.
A separate paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, identifies poor diet as the No. 1 factor contributing to America’s poor health compared to other industrialized nations.
In fact, Americans living in Appalachia now have shorter live-spans than people in Vietnam, Yemen and Sudan.
By the way, for this study, researchers defined sufficient physical activity as 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.
For some great advice on exercise and eating healthy, go to the American Heart Association’s website at heart.org.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.