Prevalence of highly active adults--Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2007

Prev Med. 2010 Aug;51(2):139-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2010.05.014. Epub 2010 Jun 1.


Background: The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2008 Guidelines) included a novel aerobic physical activity standard, in excess of minimum standards, for more extensive health benefits (>300 minutes/week of moderate-intensity, 150 minutes/week of vigorous-intensity, or an equivalent combination). Prevalence estimates among US states have yet to be described for this new standard.

Methods: Respondents self-reported physical activity in the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System was used (n=398,397). Total weekly aerobic activity was calculated for each respondent and 2008 Guidelines standards guided classification.

Results: In 2007, 43.5% (95% CI: 43.1%-43.8%) of adults met the new 2008 Guidelines standard and were classified as highly active (male, 48.3%; female, 38.9%). Linear patterns were noted by age and education, where younger age and higher levels of education had a higher proportion of highly active. Non-Hispanic whites (45.7%) had a significantly higher proportion of highly active compared with non-Hispanic blacks (37.5%) and Hispanics (37.6%). Variations in estimates were noted among those categorized as sufficiently active, insufficiently active, and inactive.

Conclusion: More than half of 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System respondents did not meet the new 2008 Guidelines standard. Aerobic activity levels commensurate with more extensive health benefits should be encouraged among US adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Young Adult