Exercise and Income/Race/Gender in U.S.

Thanks again to Ben Gold for another good read: S Armstrong et al. JAMA Pediatr 2018; 172(8): 732-40.

This study provides a great deal of information on the physical activity of adolescents and young adults (age group 12-29) from 2007-2016 using NHANES data from 9472 participants.  The relationship of physical activity compared with income, race and gender is explored.


  • The current recommendation is for adolescents to engage in a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day.  At age 20, adult guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity  or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity per week.
  • In previous studies, one-third of adults do not meet the recommended amount of physical activity

Key findings:

  • Percentage of individuals reporting any moderate or vigorous activity: 87.9% for age 12-17 y, 72.6% for age 18-24 y, and 70.7% for age 25-29 y.
  • Mean time for moderate or vigorous activity: For males: 71.1 min or age 12-17 y, 64.3 min for age 18-24 y, and 50.3 min for age 25-29 y. For females: 56.0 min or age 12-17 y, 44.9 min for age 18-24 y, and 39.2 min for age 25-29 y.
  • Younger age, white race, and higher income were associated with greater physical activity.  The breakdown on the specifics are listed in the five Tables.

The limitations of this study include that the data are cross-sectional and do not prove causality.  In addition, the data are self-reported and some groups may over- or under-report activity.

My take: This study shows that a lot of young individuals are not physically-active whihc increases the risk of some chronic diseases.  Examining the groups that have higher and lower physical activity may help understand ways towards improvement.

During a recent trip to Charlottesville, I came across this article. Someone is identifying dog poops with Nicholas Cage’s face –to highlight the problem?  Funny stuff.