Why Should People be Active?
Too few Americans get the recommended amount of physical activity.
- Only 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 high school students fully meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
- About 31 million adults aged 50 years or older are inactive, meaning they get no physical activity beyond that of daily living.
Physical inactivity costs lives and dollars.
- Inactivity contributes to 1 in 10 premature deaths.
- Inadequate levels of physical activity are associated with $117 billion in annual healthcare costs.
Many Americans do not have safe or convenient places to be active.
- Less than half of the U.S. population lives within one-half mile of a park.1
- Only 40% of school-aged youth who live a mile or less from school report that they usually walk to or from school.
Physical inactivity affects our national security and military readiness.
- Both obesity and low levels of physical fitness increase the risk for injury among active military personnel.
- Nearly 1 in 4 young adults are too heavy to serve in our military.
Benefits of Physical Activity
- Lower risk of:
- Early death.
- Coronary heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol or triglycerides.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Metabolic syndrome.
- Colon cancer.
- Breast cancer.
- Prevention of weight gain.
- Weight loss, particularly when combined with reduced calorie intake.
- Improved cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness and muscular strength.
- Prevention of falls.
- Reduced depression.
- Commentary: CDC’s Active People, Healthy NationSM: Creating an Active America, Togetherexternal icon
- Adult Physical Inactivity Prevalence Maps by Race/Ethnicity
- DNPAO Data, Trends and Maps: Explore by Topic — CDC
- Move Your WaySM: Customizable Campaign Material
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd editionpdf iconexternal icon [PDF-15.2MB]
- Adding Physical Activity to Your Life
Page last reviewed: September 17, 2020