Despite the well-known benefits of having a lifestyle that includes physical activity, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, moderate alcohol use and not smoking, only a small proportion of adults follow this healthy lifestyle pattern, and in fact, the numbers are declining, according to an article published in the June 2009 issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
Between 1988 and 2006:
- The percentage of adults aged 40-74 years with a body mass index greater than 30 has increased from 28% to 36%
- Physical activity 12 times a month or more has decreased from 53% to 43%
- Smoking rates have not changed (26.9% to 26.1%)
- Eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day has decreased from 42% to 26%
- Moderate alcohol use has increased from 40% to 51%
- The number of people adhering to all 5 healthy habits has decreased from 15% to 8%
US medical costs due to physical inactivity and its consequences are estimated at $76 billion in 2000 dollars.