On-the-Job Activity Boosts Americans' Exercise
FRIDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- On-the-job physical activity
contributes to a person's overall fitness, and should be considered
when evaluating whether an individual meets recommended physical
activity guidelines, a new U.S. government report says.
Using existing guidelines, which only take into account
leisure-time physical activity, a study by the Washington State
Department of Health (WADOH) found that about 64 percent of U.S.
adults met minimum standards. But when their work-related activity
was also included, another 6.5 percent of adults achieved the
recommended activity level, according to the report from the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Less-educated individuals and Hispanics were more likely than
others to report significant amounts of on-the-job physical
activity, which primarily consisted of walking or heavy labor, said
the study published in the May 27 issue of the CDC's
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
For men who had not completed high school, the rate who met
guidelines through work-related activity jumped 15.9 percent, from
55.7 percent to 71.6 percent. The rate for Hispanic men rose 14.4
percent when occupational exercise was considered, from 60.6
percent to 75 percent. These men were less likely than whites to
have met physical activity guidelines through non-work-related
activity, the report found.
Assessing the frequency and duration of work activity as well as
leisure-time exercise would more accurately indicate whether
Americans are active enough to benefit their health, the report
The report also said that "consideration of occupational
physical activity in the monitoring of population physical activity
levels can help to identify demographic groups for targeted
programs to increase physical activity."
Broken down by gender, more than two-thirds (68.5 percent) of
men met the guidelines through leisure-time activity. When
job-related physical activity also was tallied, the proportion
meeting guidelines jumped to 76.3 percent. For women, the
proportion meeting the guidelines rose from 60.4 percent to 65.7
percent when on-the-job exercise was considered.
Physical activity, a key health indicator, is assessed by states
and the federal government for use in the development of public
health plans and policies.
For their study, the WADOH researchers analyzed data from the
2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a nationwide
telephone survey. The researchers then used the 2008 Physical
Activity Guidelines for Americans to determine if people were
meeting the physical activity recommendations.
The current standards call for leisure-time physical activity of
150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk
walking or gardening, a week; 75 minutes or more of
vigorous-intensity activity, such as running or heavy yard work,
each week; or a combination of moderate-intensity and
vigorous-intensity activity totaling 150 minutes a week (with
vigorous-intensity activity minutes doubled).
To learn more about physical fitness and health, see the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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