A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that only about one-quarter of adults in the United States over 45 years are meeting federal recommendations for strength training, with the percentages dropping even lower in certain age and demographic groups. CDC researchers used data from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to examine the strength training activities of more than 333,000 adults 45 years and over. The results showed that only 23.7% of the population met the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed recommendations for strength training.

The HHS recommendation is that adults 45 years and older participate in activities targeting all major muscle groups at least 2 days per week. Other results of the study include: females were less likely to meet these goals than males; college graduates had a 34.2% compliance rate compared with an 18.5% rate among those with high school diplomas; and individuals with an annual income over $50,000 complied at 30.6% with rates decreasing as income declined.

In addition, normal weight respondents with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 met the recommendations at a 30.2% rate; overweight individuals with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 reported a 24.9% rate; and obese persons with a BMI of 30 or more reported a rate of 19.9%. The results of the CDC study also show that individuals aged 55 to 64 years were 10% less likely to meet strength-training recommendations when compared with respondents 45 to 54 years of age.

Also, the 65 to 74 years age group was 8% less likely to meet recommendations than the youngest cohort, while those aged 75 to 84 years were about 20% less likely to meet the goals than the 45 to 54 years age group.

The authors of the study write, “Our findings indicate that there continues to be a precipitous decline in participation in muscle strengthening activities associated with aging, and that this decline does not stop at age 65. The information gained through this research could be used to help identify which sociodemographic subgroups are most in need [of intervention].”

Source: American Physical Therapy Association