Health And Fitness - Losing The Battle

Physical Activity

  • Only one in three children are physically active every day

  • Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day

  • Only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week

  • Only 35 – 44% of adults 75 years or older are physically active, and 28-34% of adults ages 65-74 are physically active

  • More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth

  • In 2013, research found adults in the following states to be most likely to report exercising 3 or more days a week for at least 30 minutes: Vermont (65.3%), Hawaii (62.2%), Montana (60.1%), Alaska (60.1%). The least likely were Delaware (46.5%), West Virginia (47.1%) and Alabama (47.5%).

  • The national average for regular exercise is 51.6%

  • Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, videogames, computer)

  • Nationwide, 25.6% of persons with a disability reported being physically inactive during a usual week, compared to 12.8% of those without a disability

  • Only about one in five homes have parks within a half-mile, and about the same number have a fitness or recreation center within that distance

  • Only 6 states (Illinois, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York and Vermont) require physical education in every grade, K-12

  • 28.0% of Americans, or 80.2 million people, aged six and older are physically inactive

  • Nearly one-third of high school students play video or computer games for 3 or more hours on an average school day


  • Typical American diets exceed the recommended intake levels or limits in four categories: calories from solid fats and added sugars; refined grains; sodium; and saturated fat

  • Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils

  • About 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet. Reducing the sodium Americans eat by 1,200mg per day on could save up to $20 billion a year in medical costs

  • Food available for consumption increased in all major food categories from 1970 to 2008

  • Average daily calories per person in the marketplace increased approximately 600 calories

  • Since the 1970s, the number of fast food restaurants has more than doubled

  • More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in FRESH food deserts – areas that are more than a mile away from a supermarket

  • In 2008, an estimated 49.1 million people, including 16.7 million children, experienced food insecurity (limited availability to safe and nutritionally adequate foods) multiple times throughout the year

  • In 2013, residents of the following states were most likely to report eating at least five servings of vegetables four or more days per week: Vermont (68.7%), Montana (63.0%) and Washington (61.8%). The least likely were Oklahoma (52.3%), Louisiana (53.3%) and Missouri (53.8%)

  • The national average for regular produce consumption is 57.7%

  • Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40% of total daily calories for 2–18 year olds and half of these empty calories come from six sources: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk

  • US adults consume an average of 3,400 mg/day [of sodium], well above the current federal guideline of less than 2,300 mg daily

  • US per capita consumption of total fat increased from approximately 57 pounds in 1980 to 78 pounds in 2009 with the highest consumption being 85 pounds in 2005

  • The US percentage of food-insecure households, those with limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways, rose from 11% to 15% between 2005 and 2009


  • Data from 2009-2010 indicates that over 78 million U.S. adults and about 12.5 million (16.9%) children and adolescents are obese

  • Recent reports project that by 2030, half of all adults (115 million adults) in the United States will be obese

  • Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults

  • For children with disabilities, obesity rates are approximately 38% higher than for children without disabilities 

  • obesity rates for adults with disabilities are approximately 57% higher than for adults without disabilities

Obesity Then and Now

  • Prevalence of obesity for children ages 2 to 5 years – doubled in the Early 1970s: 5% in 1970-1975 to 10% in 2007-08

  • Prevalence of obesity for children ages 6 to 11 years – quadrupled in the Early 1970s: 4% to 20% in 2007-08

  • Prevalence of obesity for children ages 12 to 19 years – tripled in the Early 1970s: 6% to 18% in 2007-08

  • Percentage of obese adults – doubled Early in the 1970s: 15% to 34% in 2007-08 

  • States with an adult obesity prevalence rate of more than 25%:

  • Early 1970s: Zero, 2007-08: 32%

  • 45% of children living in poverty are overweight or obese compared with 22% of children living in households with incomes four times the poverty level

  • Almost 40% of Black and Latino youth ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese compared with only 29% of White youth

  • Obesity among children in the United States has remained flat - at around 17% - in 2003-2004 and 2011-2012:

  • children between 2 and 5 years of age saw a decline from 14% to 8%; a 43% decrease in just under a decade

  • children 6 to 11 years of age saw a decline from 18.8% to 17.7%

  • however, obesity rates for children 12 to 19 years old have increased from 17.4% to 20.5% in the same time period

Human and Financial Costs of Obesity

  • Obesity-related illness, including chronic disease, disability, and death, is estimated to carry an annual cost of $190.2 billion

  • Projections estimate that by 2018, obesity will cost the U.S. 21 percent of our total healthcare costs - $344 billion annually

  • Those who are obese have medical costs that are $1,429 more than those of normal weight on average (roughly 42% higher)

  • The annual cost of being overweight is $524 for women and $432 for men; annual costs for being obese are even higher: $4,879 for women and $2,646 for men

  • Obesity is also a growing threat to national security – a surprising 27% of young Americans are too overweight to serve in our military. Approximately 15,000 potential recruits fail their physicals every year because they are unfit

  • The medical care costs of obesity in the United States are staggering. In 2008 dollars, these costs totaled about $147 billion!