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Physical Activity in U.S. Adults

Compliance with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

      Background

      To date, no study has objectively measured physical activity levels among U.S. adults according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGA).

      Purpose

      The purpose of this study was to assess self-reported and objectively measured physical activity among U.S. adults according to the PAGA.

      Methods

      Using data from the NHANES 2005–2006, the PAGA were assessed using three physical activity calculations: moderate plus vigorous physical activity ≥150 minutes/week (MVPA); moderate plus two instances of vigorous physical activity ≥150 minutes/week (M2VPA); and time spent above 3 METs ≥500 MET-minutes/week (METPA). Self-reported physical activity included leisure, transportation, and household activities. Objective activity was measured using Actigraph accelerometers that were worn for 7 consecutive days. Analyses were conducted in 2009–2010.

      Results

      U.S. adults reported 324.5±18.6 minutes/week (M±SE) of moderate physical activity and 73.6±3.9 minutes/week of vigorous physical activity, although accelerometry estimates were 45.1±4.6 minutes/week of moderate physical activity and 18.6±6.6 minutes/week of vigorous physical activity. The proportion of adults meeting the PAGA according to M2VPA was 62.0% for self-report and 9.6% for accelerometry.

      Conclusions

      According to the NHANES 2005–2006, fewer than 10% of U.S. adults met the PAGA according to accelerometry. However, physical activity estimates vary substantially depending on whether self-reported or measured via accelerometer.
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