Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a new study, reports that 31 million Americans (28%) age 50 and older are not physically active beyond their activities for daily living.

“Adults benefit from any amount of physical activity,” states Janet E. Fulton, PhD, chief of CDC’s Physical Activity and Health Branch and one of the study’s authors. “Helping inactive people become more physically active is an important step toward healthier and more vibrant communities.”

In the study, published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers from CDC analyzed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) to examine patterns of inactivity among adults ages 50 and older by selected characteristics, per a media release from CDC.

According to the analysis, inactivity was higher for women (29.4%) compared with men (25.5%); the percentage of inactivity by race and ethnicity varied: Hispanics (32.7%), non-Hispanic blacks (33.1%), non-Hispanic whites (26.2%), and other groups (27.1%); and inactivity significantly increased with age: 25.4% for adults 50-64 years, 26.9% for people 65-74 years, and 35.3% for people 75 years and older.

In addition, more adults with at least one chronic disease were inactive (31.9%) compared with adults with no chronic disease (19.2%); by region, inactivity was highest in the South (30.1%) followed by the Midwest (28.4%) and in the Northeast (26.6%). Inactivity was lowest in the West (23.1%); by states and DC, the percentage of inactivity ranged from 17.9% in Colorado to 38.8% in Arkansas; and the percentage of inactivity decreased as education increased and also increased as weight status increased.

“This report helps us better understand and address differences in inactivity among adults 50 years and older,” says Kathleen B. Watson, PhD, an epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, and lead author of the report, in the release.

“More work is needed to make it safer and easier for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active in their communities,” she notes.

For more information about the CDC’s efforts to promote physical activity, including tips for older people, visit CDC.

[Source(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PR Newswire]