Survey: Exercise and obesity are both rising in US

  • Jun. 28, 2018 4:00 p.m.

NEW YORK — It may seem like a contradiction, but more adults in the U.S. say they are exercising at the same time more of them are becoming obese.

About 24 per cent of adults last year said they exercise enough each week to meet government recommendations for both muscle strengthening and aerobic exercise, according to a large annual health survey. That was up from 21 per cent in 2015.

The same survey says 31 per cent of adults indicated they were obese last year, up slightly. Another, more rigorous government study has also found adult obesity is inching up.

So if more Americans are exercising, how can more also be getting fatter?

Some experts think the findings may reflect two sets of people — the haves and have-nots of physical fitness, so to speak.

“It’s possible the people becoming more active are already normal weight,” said John Jakicic, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center.

The numbers come from an in-person annual national survey that for more than 60 years has been an important gauge of U.S. health trends. Roughly 35,000 adults answer the survey every year, including questions about how often, how long and how vigorously they exercise in their leisure time.

The survey gives a good sense of trends, but it’s not perfect. People generally overstate how much they exercise, just as they overstate their height and lowball their weight, Jakicic said.

Ten-year-old federal recommendations say adults should do weightlifting or other muscle-strengthening exercise at least twice a week. They also advise adults to do at least 75 minutes a week of high-intensity aerobic activity, such as running, or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, or a combination of the two.

In a report being released Thursday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at survey responses from 2010 through 2015 and found that level of leisure-time exercise was more common in some states than others.

Nearly a third of non-elderly adults in Colorado, Idaho, and New Hampshire met exercise guidelines. Only about one-seventh in Mississippi, Kentucky and South Carolina did.

Higher levels of exercise were more common in people who were working than those who weren’t, the study also found.

Nationally, exercise levels were flat during the years covered by the CDC report. But more recent data show more adults said they were exercising at recommended levels in 2016 and 2017.

It’s not clear why, said Jena Shaw Tronieri, a University of Pennsylvania weight-loss expert.

One possibility: Many adults exercise to manage stress, and the last two years have seen increasing political and social turmoil.

“I don’t know if that will explain the increase recently, but we know those situational factors are part of the context,” she said.

Of course, unhealthy eating has a lot to do with obesity. Research indicates that “a change in diet is needed to see any dent or reduction in obesity,” said the CDC’s Tainya Clarke, one of the authors of the report.

Just Posted

Updated: Police seek driver who struck and killed mother of five

The pedestrian hit and killed on the Sunchild First Nation on Friday… Continue reading

Stettler county issues stop-work order to Paradise Shores

The County of Stettler says its municipal planning commission has issued a… Continue reading

Red Deer campers make the best out of chilly start to May long weekend

A chilly start to the May long weekend didn’t stop Red Deer… Continue reading

May long weekend off to cold start in Red Deer

Central Albertans are kicking off the May long weekend with a chilly… Continue reading

Red Deer woman seeks tougher laws after family dog killed by driver

An online petition launched a week ago has 1,300 supporters

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of 2019

The event is held every Saturday in the Servus Arena parking lot

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Stone scores hat trick as Canada dumps Germany 8-1 at world hockey championship

Canada 8, Germany 1 KOSICE, Slovakia — Canada extended its winning streak… Continue reading

Quebec credits new gun registry for huge jump in number of voluntary surrenders

MONTREAL — The Quebec government is crediting its new gun registry law… Continue reading

Two N.L. Independent say they look forward to minority government

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s recent election resulted in a… Continue reading

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

MONTREAL — A team of Montreal university researchers has developed an audible… Continue reading

Female lawmakers speak about rapes as abortion bills advance

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For more than two decades, Nancy Mace did not… Continue reading

Biden rejects Democrats’ anger in call for national unity

PHILADELPHIA — His party may be enraged by Donald Trump’s presidency, but… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $22 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $22 million jackpot… Continue reading

Most Read