Healthy lifestyles decline in the US

May 28th, 2009  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  5 Comments

From ScienceDaily:

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.


  1. Brett says:

    May 28th, 2009at 8:03 am(#)

    We should be encouraged by the increase in moderate alcohol use since it is part of a lifestyle with “well-known benefits”.

  2. Trishy says:

    May 28th, 2009at 11:35 am(#)

    There is a glimmer of hope in the younger generation. Maybe the 18-40 crowd is doing a little better.

  3. Going Up, Going Down -- WOD for 090529 at CrossFit Durham, North Carolina | says:

    May 28th, 2009at 8:30 pm(#)

    […] Today’s Fitness Article Links Be Nice, Your Wrists Work Hard¬† Low Carb Diet Slows Tumor Growth¬† Healthy Lifestyles Decline in the US […]

  4. KAW says:

    May 29th, 2009at 1:12 pm(#)

    I always wonder in studies like these how much of the changes are real and how much is driven by changes in the composition of the group they are studying. In this case, the group of 40-74 year olds was much younger, on average, in 1988 than in 2006 because of when the baby boom and subsequent baby bust generations hit 40. (So, in 1988, the older members of the baby boom generation would be in their early 40s, driving down the average age of the group; by 2006, they were 18 years older, and the “baby bust” generation was hitting 40.) Assuming 40-year olds are, on average, more likely to be active than 70-year olds, the percentage of people who are active 12xmonth, for example, could change solely because of cohort sizes.

    I’m not saying that we aren’t getting more slothful, mind you. I’m just saying that the change may not be as bad as these percentages make it seem.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    June 2nd, 2009at 8:17 pm(#)

    Trishy: Not as far as I can tell. We smoke less, I think, but we eat worse. :/

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