Research Article| Volume 55, ISSUE 6, P864-874, December 2018

Muscle-Strengthening Exercise Among 397,423 U.S. Adults: Prevalence, Correlates, and Associations With Health Conditions

Published:October 24, 2018DOI:


      Although muscle-strengthening exercise has multiple independent health benefits, little is known about muscle-strengthening exercise participation and associations with adverse health conditions among U.S. adults.


      In 2017, data were analyzed from the U.S. 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. During telephone surveys, respondents reported how many times during the past week they engaged in muscle-strengthening exercise. Weighted weekly muscle-strengthening exercise frequencies were calculated for the total sample and across sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics. A multivariable logistic regression assessed the odds of having self-reported adverse health conditions (e.g., diabetes, coronary heart disease) according to weekly muscle-strengthening exercise frequency.


      Data were available on 397,423 adults (aged 18–80 years). Overall, 30.2% (95% CI=29.9, 30.5) met the muscle-strengthening exercise recommendations (two or more times/week) and 57.8% (95% CI=57.5, 58.2) reported no muscle-strengthening exercise. Older age, insufficient aerobic activity, lower income, lower education, poorer self-rated health, being female, and being overweight/obese were significantly associated with lower odds of meeting the muscle-strengthening exercise recommendations independently of other characteristics. After adjusting for confounders (e.g., age, sex, income, smoking, aerobic activity), when compared with those who did none, muscle-strengthening exercise was associated with lower odds for several adverse health conditions, including prevalent diabetes, cancer (non-skin), poor self-rated health, and obesity.


      Three in five U.S. adults do not engage in any muscle-strengthening exercise, despite an association for muscle-strengthening exercise with better health conditions. Future muscle-strengthening exercise promotion strategies should target older adults, females, those with low education/income, and those with a poor health status.
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