About One-Third of U.S. Adults Receive Advice to Exercise

Increase in prevalence of advice from physicians or health professionals over past decade

THURSDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. adults were more likely to receive advice to exercise or participate in physical activity in 2010 than in 2000, but such advice is currently only received by approximately one-third of all adults, according to a February data brief issued by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Patricia M. Barnes and Charlotte A. Schoenborn, M.P.H., from the NCHS in Hyattsville, Md. investigated trends in the prevalence of U.S. adults receiving advice to exercise or perform physical activity from a physician or health professional in the previous 12 months.

The investigators found that, in 2010, 32.4 percent of adults were advised to begin or continue exercise or physical activity. From 2000 to 2010, there was an approximately 10 percent increase in the number of adults receiving advice to exercise. For adults ages 85 years and older, the percentage receiving such advice increased from 15.3 in 2000 to 28.9 in 2010. For adults with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, there was an increase in receipt of advice to exercise, with adults with diabetes the most likely and those with cancer the least likely to receive such advice. The largest increase was seen for overweight or obese adults.

"The medical community is increasing its efforts to recommend participation in exercise and other physical activity that research has shown to be associated with substantial health benefits. Still, the prevalence of receiving this advice remains well below one-half of U.S. adults and varies substantially across population subgroups," the authors write.

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