More Americans are running, biking and exercising in other ways according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
Although the rise in physical activity levels will have a welcome impact on the health of Americans by reducing death and chronic disability from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes it has had little impact so far on stopping the rising tide of obesity.
As physical activity in the US increased between 2001 and 2009, so did the percentage of the population considered obese.
Obesity and risk factors from poor diets, smoking and high blood pressure all are having an adverse impact on US life expectancies, which increased slowly compared to that seen between 1985 and 2010.
“Around the country, you can see huge increases in the percentage of people becoming physically active, which research tells us is certain to have health benefits,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray, “If communities in the US can replicate this success and tackle the ongoing obesity, it will see more substantial health gains.”
“More aggressive strategies to prevent and control obesity are needed. Diet and changes in individual behaviour are key components,” said Dr. Ali Mokdad, Professor of Global Health at IHME and a co-author of both studies.
“Understanding local trends in obesity and physical activity in both rural and urban areas will help communities develop successful strategies and learn from each other.”