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Physical inactivity is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. This study provides prevalence estimates of inactivity by select characteristics among older adults.
Respondents ≥50 years of age were selected from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (N = 185,702).
Overall, 30.0% of older adults did not engage in leisure-time physical activity. Within each racial/ethnic group, the prevalence of inactivity was highest among Hispanic men (41.9%) and women (42.4%). Among men with and without disabilities, chronic disease conditions associated with inactivity were angina or coronary artery disease. Among women with disabilities, chronic disease conditions associated with inactivity were stroke and diabetes; among women without disabilities only diabetes was significantly associated with inactivity.
Regular physical activity is an important means to maintaining independence, because it substantially reduces the risk for developing many diseases; contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; and can reduce the risk for falling. Health care providers are encouraged to discuss concerns regarding physical activity with their patients.
Kruger and Ham are with the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341-3717. Sanker is with the Center for Healthy Aging, The National Council on the Aging, Washington, DC.