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Study: Most Americans don't exercise regularly

Study: Most Americans don't exercise regularly

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- If you're like most Americans, you spent the weekend doing everything but getting enough exercise.

Seven out of 10 American adults don't exercise regularly despite the proven health benefits, a study released Sunday says.

"You don't have to work up a big sweat at the gym or become a long-distance runner," said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, who released the report on World Health Day.

"Just 30 minutes of walking a day, five days a week, can significantly improve your health."

While 62 percent of adults had some physical activity in their leisure time, only three of 10 exercised regularly, the report said.

It defined regular physical activity as light-to-moderate exercise at least five times a week for at least a half-hour, or vigorous activity at least three times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Experts say lack of physical activity contributes to some 300,000 deaths each year in the United States caused by heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other conditions.

The study, based on more than 68,000 interviews for the National Center for Health Statistics, found correlations between education, income and marital status and physical activity.

Almost 80 percent of people with graduate-level degrees were involved in at least some leisure-time physical activity, compared with half as many among those with less than a high-school diploma, the study said.

Adults with income at least four times the poverty level were twice as likely to get regular physical activity as those with income below the poverty level, it said.

Also, married people were more likely to get some leisure-time exercise than others. Adults living in the suburbs also were more likely to be physically active than adults in urban and rural areas, the report said.


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