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Physical Activity & Cardiovascular Health Fact Sheet

Nov 2, 2010

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the No. 1 killer in America. In 2004, about 871,000 adults in the United States died of CVD, accounting for about 36 percent of all deaths.

Lack of physical activity is a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

The relative risk of coronary heart disease associated with physical inactivity ranges from 1.5 to 2.4, an increase in risk comparable with that observed for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cigarette smoking.

Surveys show that 24 percent of Americans 18 or older aren’t active at all.

People with lower incomes and less than a 12th grade education are more likely to be physically inactive.

In 2005, 33.0 percent of male high school students and 29.0 percent of female high school students attended physical education classes daily.

In 2005, 43.8 percent of male high school students and 27.8 percent of female high school students met currently recommended levels of physical activity.

According to the 2004 National Health Interview Survey, the following have a physically inactive lifestyle:

Among non-Hispanic whites, 18.4 percent of men and 21.6 percent of women

Among non-Hispanic blacks, 27 percent of men and 33.9 percent of women

Among Hispanics, 32.5 percent of men and 39.6 percent of women

Among Asian/Pacific Islanders, 20.4 percent of men and 24.0 percent of women

Even low-to-moderate intensity activities, when done for as little as 30 minutes a day, bring benefits. These activities include pleasure walking, climbing stairs, gardening, yard work, moderate-to-heavy housework, dancing and home exercise.

More vigorous aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, running, swimming, bicycling, roller skating and jumping rope are best for improving the fitness of the heart and lungs.

Reprinted with Permission


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