TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Experts say more are exercising and believe it will help Americans get healthier

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 4:51 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — Americans are exercising more, but that has not done much to slim their waistlines, underscoring the immense challenge confronting health advocates fighting the nation's obesity crisis.

In more than two-thirds of the nation's counties — including some of the most unhealthy — men and women became more physically active over the last decade, according to data published on Wednesday.

Women made notable progress nationwide, with the percentage who got sufficient weekly exercise jumping from 46.7 percent to 51.3 percent. The percentage of physically active men ticked up a point to 57.8 percent.

But these improvements have done little to reduce obesity, researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation concluded.

Between 2001 and 2009, obesity rates for men or women fell in just nine counties. National rates climbed throughout the decade, although some recent evidence suggests obesity rates may no longer be rising.

“There has been a lot of progress on physical activity,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, lead author of the research, which was published in the journal Population Health Metrics. “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 percent of children are obese, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite the grim news, Murray and others believe that, eventually, the uptick in exercise will likely deliver significant health benefits and may help reverse the decades-long increase in weight.

“We know that exercise has amazing virtues,” said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “It helps prevent cardiovascular disease, build muscle tone and reduce bone loss. It improves mental health, and it reduces stress. ... All of those are vitally important.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. 28 evacuated as fire hits oil platform off Louisiana coast
  2. As oil production soars, so do pipeline leaks
  3. D.C. mansion murder suspect had help, police say
  4. Calif. farmers’ group will cut water use in historic deal
  5. Coal’s worst fears affirmed in analysis of Obama climate plan
  6. Police officials rethink approach to training
  7. Suspect in killings of wealthy D.C. family arrested
  8. Ex-Va. lawmaker plans to wed teen in sex scandal
  9. Senators push for full funding for Amtrak
  10. George Harrison guitar from 1963 fetches $490K at auction
  11. Experts cited concerns with medical scope infections in ‘09