Are U.S. Adults Meeting Physical Activity Guidelines?

JAMA Network Open


Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Wei Bao, M.D., Ph.D., email Tom Snee at The full study and commentary are linked to this news release.

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Bottom Line: The proportion of U.S. adults adhering to the “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services didn’t significantly improve between 2007 and 2016 but time spent sitting increased. The first edition of the federal guidelines recommending types and duration of physical activity were released in 2008 and updated in 2018, including a recommendation to spend less time sitting. This study used nationally representative survey data from about 27,000 adults to examine adherence to the recommendations for aerobic activity, as well as sedentary behavior from 2007 to 2016. Study authors report 65.2% met the guidelines for aerobic activity in 2015-2016, compared with 63.2% in 2007-2008, while time spent sitting increased from 5.7 hours per day in 2007-2008 to 6.4 hours per day in 2015-2016. The proportion of people not meeting the recommendations for aerobic activity and sitting more than six hours a day increased from 16.1% to 18.8% during this same period. A limitation of the study is that the information on physical activity and sitting time was self-reported.

Authors: Wei Bao, M.D., Ph.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City, and coauthors



Editor’s Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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