We’re Exercising More But Getting Nowhere!

A study in Population Health Metrics shows that while we are exercising more as a country, we are not gaining in the battle of obesity.
Obesity and physical inactivity are associated with several chronic conditions, increased medical care costs, and premature death.åÊ
Using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a state-based random-digit telephone survey that covers the majority of United States counties, and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative sample of the US civilian noninstitutionalized population, they examined 3.7 million adults aged 20 years or older.åÊ
They calculated body mass index (BMI) from self-reported weight and height and calculated self-reported physical activity.

The results 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.åÊ
This increase in level of activity was matched by an increase in obesity in almost all counties during the same time period. åÊ
Controlling for changes in poverty, unemployment, number of doctors per 100,000 population, percent rural, and baseline levels of obesity, for every 1 percentage point increase in physical activity prevalence, obesity prevalence was 0.11 percentage points lower.

Of course they concluded that increased physical activity alone has a small impact on obesity prevalence at the county level in the US.åÊ

While the rise in physical activity levels will have a positive impact on the health of Americans in reducing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, other changes such as reduction in caloric intake are likely needed to curb the obesity epidemic and its burden.åÊ