Experts say more are exercising and believe it will help Americans get healthier
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.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Computer hackers’ attack on Sony ‘merits an appropriate response,’ White House says
- All companies now on alert for hackers
- West Virginia man dies after being shot with arrow in Wellsburg
- Sen. McConnell wants to stop coal rules
- EPA tabs $3.1M to curb algae in Lake Erie
- Social Security yanked from deported Nazis
- New York move to ban fracking heartens critics
- Feds design college ratings system
- Federal regulators pen rules for Cuba trade, tourism
- Attorney General Holder, Justice Department target bias against transgender employees
- Death penalty sought for white supremacist in Mo. killings