Status of the 1990 physical fitness and exercise objectives--evidence from NHIS 1985

Public Health Rep. Nov-Dec 1986;101(6):587-92.


The 1985 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Questionnaire provides information regarding the status of 4 of the 11 physical fitness and exercise objectives for 1990. A specially developed scoring algorithm was used to determine the percentage of persons participating in appropriate physical activity (that is, "exercise which involves large muscle groups in dynamic movement for periods of 20 minutes or longer, 3 or more days per week, and which is performed at an intensity of 60 percent or greater of an individual's cardiorespiratory capacity" and three other categories: regular activity, but not appropriate physical activity; irregular activity; and those who were sedentary. Results revealed that the young and persons of relatively high socioeconomic status are more likely to perform appropriate physical activity in their leisure time. When rigid criteria were used, only 5.1 percent of those surveyed knew the appropriate duration, frequency, and intensity of physical activity needed to strengthen the heart and lungs. It was not possible to determine if exercise prevalence has increased in recent years; however, it will be possible to detect trends in the future when this survey is repeated in 1990.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States