Americans aren’t really more active than they were over a decade ago

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Recent workout trends and a push for healthier lifestyle would make you think Americans are more active than they were more than a decade ago. That, apparently, is not the case, according to physical activity guidelines set by the US government.

Instead of becoming more active, Americans are basically doing exactly the same amount, according to a new study published by JAMA Network Open. The study found that American adults’ physical activity hasn’t changed much since 2007 when the US government introduced new guidelines on recommended physical activity in adults.


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The data was compiled after the US government established its physical activity guide in 2008. The guidelines, which were updated in 2018, recommends adults participate in at least 150 to 330 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or about two hours and 30 minutes weekly of tough aerobic activities.

Researchers grabbed data from 2007 through 2016 of 27,000 American adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which showed that aerobic activity barely improved from 2007-2008 (63%) to 2015-2016 (65%).

Instead, Americans are sitting more than ever.

When the initial guidelines were issued in 2008, ironically, it recommended that adults spend less time sitting. But that numbered increased as sedentary behavior rose from 5.7 to 6.4 hours per day in the same time frame.