Despite the known health benefits of being physically active, only about half of US adults meet the minimum guidelines for aerobic physical activity. In a recently published study in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, CDC and Emory University researchers reported that physically active adults had lower annual direct health care expenditures than adults participating in inadequate levels of physical activity. The study estimated that 11.1% of total health care expenditures were associated with inadequate levels of physical activity. This equates to about $117 billion per year of direct health care expenditures being associated with inadequate levels of physical activity.
The considerable financial burden associated with inadequate levels of physical activity in the United States could potentially be reduced by increasing adults’ physical activity to levels consistent with current guidelines and Healthy People 2020 objectives.
Being physically active is one of the most important steps that Americans can take to improve their health. People who are regularly physically active generally live longer and have a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults participate in at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity equivalent aerobic physical activity and at least two or more times a week of muscle-strengthening activities for health benefits