Over 50s Getting Soft: CDC Report Shows Nearly A Quarter Of People Over 50 Get No Exercise At All
The more we learn about how diet and exercise can benefit us, the more troubling and mind-boggling it is to see people make the unhealthy choice.
For instance, when you are in line behind someone at the grocery story who has bottle after two-liter bottle of soda stacked in their cart. Or when you pass the fast-food restaurant drive-through and see the line of cars waiting to order snaking out into the street.
At the risk of sounding smug or holier-than-thou, in all seriousness, how do people live this way?
That is the question many are asking in the wake of the publication of a new Centers for Disease Control study that shows that many older Americans are slacking not only on the diet front, but also on exercise.
The study shows that over a quarter of Americans age 50 and above engage in virtually no exercise at all.
You read that right: 28 percent of people over 50 are not physically active beyond the basic movements needed for daily life activities.
This news is, to put it mildly, disturbing. Imagine what life was like for the majority of Americans a century or even 50 years ago: working on farms, in factories–these kinds of jobs made gyms unnecessary. Flash-forward to today: if the exercise life of a fourth of us consists of nothing more strenuous than reaching for the remote or dialing up the local pizza delivery joint, no wonder obesity and type 2 diabetes are on the rise.
However the CDC is taking the new data as a challenge, not a rebuke to be delivered to some 31 million sedentary people.
“Adults benefit from any amount of physical activity,” said report author Janet E. Fulton, Ph.D., who is also chief of CDC’s Physical Activity and Health Branch. “Helping inactive people become more physically active is an important step towards healthier and more vibrant communities.”
The study looked at data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for all 50 states and the District of Columbia to draw out patterns of inactivity among adults ages 50 and older, and various subgroups. The analysis showed that:
• Girl…power? – Inactivity was higher for women in this age group at 29.4 percent, compared with that of men who came in at 25.5 percent.
• Race is a factor – The percentage of inactive people varied by race: Hispanics came in highest at 32.7 percent, while non-Hispanic blacks were at 33.1 percent, non-Hispanic whites were lowest at 26.2 percent, with other groups slightly higher at 27.1 percent.
• Not getting older, getting better? – As people age, their level of inactivity significantly increased: 25.4 percent for adults 50-64 years, 26.9 percent for people 65-74 years, and 35.3 percent for people 75 years and older.
• Maybe the South’s going to do it again, but only from the couch – Dividing the results by region, inactivity was highest in the South at 30.1 percent, followed by the Midwest 28.4 percent and in Northeast 26.6 percent. Westerners can take pride that inactivity was lowest there, at 23.1 percent.
• Rocky mountain high (and thin) – The numbers lined up neatly with the obesity ranking by state, with Colorado (the least obese state) coming in at 17.9 percent on the inactivity scale, and Arkansas (seventh most obese) coming in at a shocking 38.8 percent of over 50s who were completely inactive.