Are Americans Backing Off Exercise?

generic Running, Jogging, Exercising, Sport, Women, Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Eating, Relaxation Exercise, CBS

There is a lot of talk about exercise this time of year as out-of-shape Americans turn over new leaves, make New Year's resolutions and plunk down cash for gym memberships.

But don't let the talk fool you. Only about half of Americans exercise regularly - at least three sessions a week for 30 minutes at a time - and the percentage of exercisers declined last year compared to 2008. These are some of the findings in the latest survey by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

For the annual study, researchers interview about 1,000 people per day. In a typical month, 28,000 to 30,000 interviews are conducted. The margin of error for monthly results is +/- 0.6 percentage point. Respondents are asked to report how many days in the past seven days they exercised for at least a half hour.

Other findings include:

• In addition to the 49.6 percent of Americans who reported that they exercised for at least 30 minutes three days per week, 18.5 percent said they exercised one or two days per week and 31.3 percent reported they did not exercise on any day in the given week.

• Americans making more than $90,000 per year are more likely to be frequent exercisers - 54.3 percent versus the national average of 49.6 percent.

• Men, people living in the west and people between the ages of 18 and 29 also are more likely to be regular exercisers.

• Among obese Americans, 40.4 percent of respondents said they do not exercise for at least 30 minutes any day of the given week. That is significantly higher than the percentage of non-exercisers in the overall study population.

• The percentage of Americans saying they exercised for at least 30 minutes at least one day per week decreased from an average of 69.1 percent in 2008 to 68.1 percent in 2009.

On the Web

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index: http://www.well-beingindex.com/
By Caroline Wilbert
Reviewed by Louise Chang
©2005-2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved

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