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Research: Only 2.7 Percent of Adults Have Healthy Lifestyles

Only 46 percent of adults in a new study said they participate in "moderate to vigorous" activity for at least 150 minutes each week. (Malpdx/Wikimedia Commons)
Only 46 percent of adults in a new study said they participate in "moderate to vigorous" activity for at least 150 minutes each week. (Malpdx/Wikimedia Commons)
March 28, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. - If you're worried your lifestyle isn't healthy enough, you're not alone. Only 2.7 percent of adults have all four healthy characteristics measured in a new study by Oregon State University researchers.

This means fewer than three percent of adults in the study were nonsmokers, performed moderate exercise, ate a good diet, and had normal body-fat percentages.

Karen Girard, health promotion and chronic disease prevention manager with the Oregon Health Authority, says people can get their health on track by riding bikes to work, or walking to the park with family.

"Those are the really important ways that we can incorporate it into our regular lives, so it is not something that we 'have to do,' in addition to all of the other parts of our very busy lives," Girard says.

For the study, moderate exercise was considered 150 minutes of "moderate to vigorous" activity each week, and a good diet was defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines.

Girard is concerned some communities don't offer the components of more active lifestyles. For instance, she says some places don't have sidewalks so that a family can walk to their local park safely.

When they do walk to the park, it might not be properly lit, lowering the chances for a healthy outing even further.

"What can we do together to make sure that those settings are supportive of health," says Girard. "So that people can get the physical activity, eat healthfully, and avoid tobacco to live healthy, active lives?"

Researchers interviewed and used devices such as accelerometers to measure more than 4,500 participants.

The study found about 16 percent had three of the healthy characteristics, 37 percent had two, 34 percent had one and 11 percent had none of the four.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and the University of Mississippi helped with the study.



Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR