Posted on Aug 09, 2013, 6 a.m.
County-by-county assessment reveals that, as a whole, the American population is becoming more physically active.
In that obesity and physical inactivity are associated with several chronic conditions, increased medical care costs, and premature death, public health experts seek to reveal and encourage simple and effective approaches to counteract these trends. Christopher Murray, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington (Washington, USA), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 3.7 million adults aged 20 years or older enrolled in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from 2000 to 2011, a state-based random-digit telephone survey that covers the majority of United States counties; and data collected on 30,000 adults ages 20 or older enrolled from 1999 to 2010 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The team calculated body mass index (BMI) from self-reported weight and height in the BRFSS and adjusted for self-reporting bias using NHANES, and also calculated self-reported physical activity---both any physical activity and physical activity meeting recommended levels---from self-reported data in the BRFSS. Writing that their data “showed an increase in the prevalence of sufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2009. Levels were generally higher in men than in women, but increases were greater in women than men. Counties in Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, and California reported the largest gains,” the study authors report that: “Our study showed that … the rise in physical activity levels will have a positive independent impact on the health of Americans as it will reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.”
Dwyer-Lindgren L, Freedman G, Engell RE, Fleming TD, Lim SS, Murray CJ, Mokdad AH. “Prevalence of physical activity and obesity in US counties, 2001--2011: a road map for action.” Popul Health Metr. 2013 Jul 10;11(1):7.