CDC releases map of most inactive states: North Carolina and Virginia faring better than rest of the South

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A file photo of a man in a gym. (File/Getty)

GHENT, W.Va. (WVNS) — In the majority of states in the United States, more than one in five adults are considered “inactive,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has released new state maps showing levels of physical inactivity among adults in the United States. For these maps, physical inactivity is defined as not participating in any physical activity outside of work for more than one month.

Individuals were asked to self-report their level of activity in telephone interview surveys conducted by the CDC and state health departments.

State and territory estimates of physical inactivity range from 17.7% of Colorado residents to 49.4% in Puerto Rico. In Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Puerto Rico, 30% or more of adults were physically inactive. By region, the South had the highest rates of physical inactivity at 27.5%, followed by the Midwest at 25.2%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data in January 2022 showing rates of physical inactivity among American adults. The map above shows overall physical inactivity among adults by states and territories based on information reported in phone interviews. (CDC)

“Getting enough physical activity could prevent 1 in 10 premature deaths. Too many people are missing out on the health benefits of physical activity, such as improved sleep, reduced blood pressure and anxiety , reduced risk of heart disease, several cancers, and dementia, says Ruth Petersen, MD, CDC Nutrition Division Director, Physical Activity and Obesity.

The CDC map shows the proportion of Americans who are inactive for a month or more at a time. However, the agency recommends that healthy adults be active not just once a month, but several times a week. He suggests 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises.

The CDC is working with communities and partners across the country through the Active People, Healthy Nation initiative to determine what can be done to make it more convenient for people to be active. The overall goal of the initiative is to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027 through the help of community leaders who can inspire more active communities. According to organizers, this will improve the overall quality of life and reduce health care costs across the country.

The new maps are based on combined 2017-2020 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS is a state-based continuous telephone survey system used by the CDC and other health departments.

You can read more about physical activity on the CDC’s website. Maps and data tables on levels of physical inactivity are available here.

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