Adults Need More Activity

Communities can help

Regular physical activity is vital for healthy aging. It can help delay, prevent, or manage many costly chronic diseases. Physical activity can also reduce the risk of premature death. Despite these benefits, a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 31 million adults aged 50 and older (28%) are inactive. Inactivity is defined as not getting any physical activity beyond basic movement from daily life activities.

The study found that among U.S. states and DC, the percentage of inactivity:

  • Ranged from 17.9% in Colorado to 38.8% in Arkansas.
  • Was higher among women, Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks, and adults with ≥1 chronic disease than their counterparts.
  • Decreased as education increased and increased as weight status increased.

Helping inactive people become more active is an important step towards healthier communities. Many adults age 50 years and older want to be active but face barriers in their communities. Everyone, including federal, state, and local governments, transportation engineers and community planning professionals, and community organizations can play a role in helping communities offer design enhancements and healthy lifestyle programs to create a culture that supports physical activity.

For more information and the full press release, please visit Millions of adults 50 years and older are not getting any physical activity.

senior friends walking along a boardwalk near the shore

Adults 50 need more activity

a 50+ couple speed walking in a park

Adults 50 need more activity

a senior couple walking in a park

Adults 50 need more activity

A couple walking on a neighborhood sidewalk

31 million adults (28%) age 50 years and older are inactive. Among adults 50 , women, Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks, and adults with a chronic disease are more likely to be inactive. More work is needed to expand community support of physical activity for all.

middle-aged adult in the gym

Adults 50 need more activity

senior couple walking along a beach boardwalk

Adults 50 need more activity

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

MMWR

Factsheet: English Cdc-pdf[1.4MB]

InfographicCdc-pdf

Spokespersons

“By identifying which groups are more inactive, this report helps us better understand and address differences in inactivity among adults 50 years and older.”

“More work is needed to design and enhance communities to make it safer and easier for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active.”

Kathleen B. Watson, PhD – Epidemiologist, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

“Adults who participate in any amount of physical activity can gain some health benefits. Helping inactive people become more physically active is an important step towards healthier and more vibrant communities.”

Ruth Petersen, MD, MPH – Director, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Page last reviewed: September 15, 2016