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Physical Activity

No leisure-time physical activity, adults, 1997–2010

Decrease desired

PA-1 line graph

Objective PA-1

SOURCE: National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), CDC/NCHS.
NOTES: Data are for the proportion of adults aged 18 and over who engaged in no leisure-time physical activity, and are age adjusted using the year 2000 standard population. No physical activity is defined as: never or are unable to do light or moderate physical activity for at least 20 minutes (at least 10 minutes after 1997) and never or are unable to do vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes (at least 10 minutes after 1997).

The proportion of adults aged 18 and over who engaged in no leisure-time physical activity decreased 18.6% between 1997 and 2010, from 39.8% to 32.4% (age adjusted), and varied by sex. For example, in 2010, 35.0% (age adjusted) of females aged 18 and over engaged in no leisure-time physical activity, compared with 29.6% of males aged 18 and over.


No leisure-time physical activity, adults, 1997 and 2010

Decrease desired

PA-1 Vbar graph

Objective PA-1

SOURCE: National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), CDC/NCHS.
NOTES: Data are for the proportion of adults aged 18 and over who engaged in no leisure-time physical activity. No physical activity is defined as: never or are unable to do light or moderate physical activity for at least 20 minutes (at least 10 minutes after 1997) and never or are unable to do vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes (at least 10 minutes after 1997).
I = 95% confidence interval.

The proportion of adults aged 18 and over who engaged in no leisure-time physical activity declined with age. For example, in 2010, 59.7% of older adults aged 75 and over engaged in no leisure-time physical activity, compared with 41.8% of older adults aged 65–74, 32.5% of adults aged 45–64, 27.8% of adults aged 25–44, and 24.8% of adults aged 18–24.


No leisure-time physical activity, adults, 2010

Decrease desired

PA-1 Hbar gender /race graph
PA-1 Hbar education limits graph

Objective PA-1

SOURCE: National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), CDC/NCHS.
NOTES: Data are for the proportion of adults aged 18 and over who engaged in no leisure-time physical activity, and are age adjusted using the year 2000 standard population. No physical activity is defined as: never or are unable to do light or moderate physical activity for at least 20 minutes (at least 10 minutes after 1997) and never or are unable to do vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes (at least 10 minutes after 1997). Respondents were asked to select one or more races. The single race categories listed include persons who reported only one racial group. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Data by education are for persons aged 25 and over.
I = 95% confidence interval.

In 2010, 32.4% (age adjusted) of adults aged 18 and over engaged in no leisure-time physical activity. This rate varied by sex, race and ethnicity, education, and activity limitation status:

  • 35.0% (age adjusted) of females aged 18 and over engaged in no leisure-time physical activity, compared with 29.6% of males aged 18 and over.
  • 27.9% (age adjusted) of non-Hispanic white adults aged 18 and over engaged in no leisure-time physical activity, compared with 32.9% of Asian, 40.2% of American Indian or Alaska Native, 42.7% of non-Hispanic black, and 44.6% of Hispanic or Latino adults aged 18 and over.
  • 55.6% (age adjusted) of adults aged 25 and over with less than a high school education engaged in no leisure-time physical activity, compared with 42.4% of those who were high school graduates, 31.8% of those with some college education, 27.0% of those with an Associate degree, 20.6% of those with a four-year college degree, and 16.0% of those with an advanced degree.
  • 50.8% (age adjusted) of adults aged 18 and over with activity limitations engaged in no leisure-time physical activity, compared with 28.5% of adults without activity limitations.

Meeting guidelines for aerobic physical activity, adults, 2010

Increase desired

PA-2.1 gender/race graph
PA-2.1 Education limitations graph

Objective PA-2.1

SOURCE: National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), CDC/NCHS.
NOTES: Data are for the proportion of adults aged 18 and over who met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity (at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity, or an equivalent combination) and are age adjusted using the year 2000 standard population. Respondents were asked to select one or more races. The single race categories listed include persons who reported only one racial group. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Data by education are for persons aged 25 and over.
I = 95% confidence interval.

In 2010, 47.1% (age adjusted) of adults aged 18 and over met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity (at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity, or an equivalent combination). This rate varied by sex, race and ethnicity, education, and activity limitation status:

  • 51.9% (age adjusted) of males aged 18 and over met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity, compared with 42.6% of females aged 18 and over.
  • 51.3% (age adjusted) of non-Hispanic white adults aged 18 and over met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity, compared with 44.5% of Asian, 41.0% of American Indian or Alaska Native, 37.3% of non-Hispanic black, and 36.1% of Hispanic or Latino adults aged 18 and over.
  • 64.0% (age adjusted) of adults aged 25 and over with an advanced degree met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity, compared with 58.4% of those with a four-year college degree, 50.3% of those with an Associate degree, 44.6% of those with some college education, 37.1% of those who were high school graduates, and 26.8% of those with less than a high school education.
  • 50.7% (age adjusted) of adults aged 18 and over without activity limitations met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity, compared with 30.0% of adults with activity limitations.

Meeting guidelines for aerobic physical activity, adolescents, 2009

Increase desired

PA-3.1 graph

Objective PA-3.1

SOURCE: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), CDC/NCCDPHP.
NOTES: Data are for the proportion of students in grades 9–12 who met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity (at least 60 minutes per day on seven of the past seven days). Respondents were asked to select one or more races. The single race categories listed include persons who reported only one racial group. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
I = 95% confidence interval.

In 2009, 18.4% of students in grades 9–12 met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity (at least 60 minutes per day on seven of the past seven days). This rate varied by sex, race and ethnicity, and grade; however, differences by race and ethnicity and grade were not statistically significant:

  • 24.8% of males in grades 9–12 met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity, compared with 11.4% of females in grades 9–12.
  • 21.2% of American Indian or Alaska Native students in grades 9–12 met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity, compared with 19.7% of non-Hispanic white, 18.9% of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 17.2% of non-Hispanic black, and 15.8% of Asian and of Hispanic or Latino students in grades 9–12.
  • 21.3% of 9th graders met the guidelines for aerobic physical activity, compared with 19.3% of 10th graders, 17.0% of 11th graders, and 15.3% of 12th graders.

Daily physical education requirement in schools, 2006

Increase desired

PA-4.1 to 4.3 graph

Objectives PA-4.1 through PA-4.3

SOURCE: School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS), CDC/NCCDPHP.
NOTE: Data are for the proportion of public and private elementary (objective PA-4.1), middle and junior high (objective PA-4.2), and senior high schools (objective PA-4.3) that required daily physical education for all students.
I = 95% confidence interval.

In 2006, 3.8% of elementary schools, 7.9% of middle and junior high schools, and 2.1% of senior high schools required daily physical education for all students. The Healthy People 2020 targets for these three objectives are 4.2%, 8.6%, and 2.3%, respectively.


States with licensing regulations for physical activity provided in child care, 2006

Increase desired

PA-9.3 graph

Objective PA-9.3

SOURCE: National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Education.
NOTE: Data are for the number of states with licensing regulations for physical activity provided in child care that required a number of minutes of physical activity per day or by length of time in care in child care centers, large family homes, and small family homes.

In 2006, 1 state had licensing regulations for physical activity provided in child care that require a number of minutes of physical activity per day or by length of time in care in child care centers, large family homes, and small family homes. The Healthy People 2020 target is 11 states.

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