MMWR Data Highlights

What is added by this report?

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Overall, 27.5% of adults age 50 years and older were inactive. Inactivity prevalence significantly increased with increasing age for adults 50-64 years (25.4%), 65-74 years (26.9%), and 75 years and older (35.3%). Inactivity prevalence was significantly higher for women, Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks, and adults with ≥1 chronic disease than their counterparts. Inactivity prevalence significantly increased with decreasing levels of education and increasing body mass index.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Despite the many benefits of being physically active, approximately 1 in 4 adults 50 years and older are inactive. Communities can be designed and enhanced to make it safer and easier for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active.

Table 1. Self-reported prevalence of inactivity among adults 50 years and older by selected characteristics — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014*
Table 1. Self-reported prevalence of inactivity among adults 50 years and older by selected characteristics — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014*
Sex Male 25.5%
Female 29.4%
Age Group (years) 50-64 25.4%
65-74 26.9%
>75 35.3%
Race/Ethnicity White, non-Hispanic 26.2%
Black, Non-Hispanic 33.1%
Hispanic 32.7%
Other§ 27.1%
Education <High school graduate 44.1%
High school graduate 34.7%
Some college 24.6%
College graduate 14.2%
Body Mass Index (kg/m2) Underweight/Normal weight 23.1%
Overweight 24.4%
Obese 35.8%
Region Midwest 28.4%
Northeast 26.6%
South 30.1%
West 23.1%

* Inactivity is defined as responding “No” to the following question: “During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?”

§ Other includes Multi-Racial, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or American Indian, Alaska Native

¶ Body mass index (BMI) classifications are as follows: Underweight/Normal (< 25.0 kg/m2); Overweight (25.0-29.9 kg/m2); Obese (≥ 30 kg/m2)

Table 2. Self-reported prevalence of inactivity among adults 50 years and older by chronic disease — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014*
Table 2. Self-reported prevalence of inactivity among adults 50 years and older by chronic disease — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014*
Arthritis Yes 33.1%
No 23.3%
Cancer** Yes 31.6%
No 27.0%
Coronary heart disease Yes 37.2%
No 26.1%
COPD Yes 44.4%
No 25.6%
Depressive disorder Yes 38.0%
No 25.2%
Diabetes Yes 38.4%
No 25.1%
Stroke Yes 42.9%
No 26.7%

* Inactivity is defined as responding “No” to the following question: “During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?”

** Excluding skin cancer

† Coronary heart disease includes myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease

Figure 1. Prevalence of self-reported physical inactivity among adults 50 years and older — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2014

Self-reported prevalence of inactivity among adults 50 years and older by state. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014. Alabama 32.3, Alaska 22.9, Arizona 24.3, Arkansas 38.8, California 24.4, Colorado 17.9, Connecticut 24.4, Delaware 28.7, District of Columbia 25.7, Florida 26.5, Georgia	28.7, Hawaii 23.5, Idaho 21.2, Illinois 27.7, Indiana 30.6, Iowa 28.7, Kansas 29.8, Kentucky 34.8, Louisiana 34.0, Maine 23.9, Maryland 24.9, Massachusetts 23.5, Michigan 29.4, Minnesota 23.8, Mississippi 35.6, Missouri 31.1, Montana 24.1, Nebraska 25.5, Nevada 27.9, New Hampshire 23.2, New Jersey 25.9, New Mexico 24.8, New York 28.5, North Carolina 27.7, North Dakota 27.3, Ohio 30.2, Oklahoma 34.8, Oregon 20.2, Pennsylvania 27.5, Rhode Island 25.6, South Carolina 29.4, South Dakota 24.4, Tennessee 33.3, Texas 31.4, Utah 19.9, Vermont 22.3, Virginia 28.4, Washington 20.0, West Virginia 33.7, Wisconsin 24.1, Wyoming 26.3,

Table 3. Self-reported prevalence of inactivity among adults 50 years and older by state — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014*

Table 3. Self-reported prevalence of inactivity among adults 50 years and older by state — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014*
States Prevalence of
Inactivity (%)
Alabama 32.3
Alaska 22.9
Arizona 24.3
Arkansas 38.8
California 24.4
Colorado 17.9
Connecticut 24.4
Delaware 28.7
District of Columbia 25.7
Florida 26.5
Georgia 28.7
Hawaii 23.5
Idaho 21.2
Illinois 27.7
Indiana 30.6
Iowa 28.7
Kansas 29.8
Table 3. Self-reported prevalence of inactivity among adults 50 years and older by state — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014*
States Prevalence of
Inactivity (%)
Kentucky 34.8
Louisiana 34.0
Maine 23.9
Maryland 24.9
Massachusetts 23.5
Michigan 29.4
Minnesota 23.8
Mississippi 35.6
Missouri 31.1
Montana 24.1
Nebraska 25.5
Nevada 27.9
New Hampshire 23.2
New Jersey 25.9
New Mexico 24.8
New York 28.5
North Carolina 27.7
Table 3. Self-reported prevalence of inactivity among adults 50 years and older by state — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014*
States Prevalence of
Inactivity (%)
North Dakota 27.3
Ohio 30.2
Oklahoma 34.8
Oregon 20.2
Pennsylvania 27.5
Rhode Island 25.6
South Carolina 29.4
South Dakota 24.4
Tennessee 33.3
Texas 31.4
Utah 19.9
Vermont 22.3
Virginia 28.4
Washington 20.0
West Virginia 33.7
Wisconsin 24.1
Wyoming 26.3

* Inactivity is defined as responding “No” to the following question: “During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?”

Learn more about CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.