Women's Health USA 2007
Photographs of women's faces

Health Status > Health Behaviors

Physical Activity

Regular physical activity promotes health, psychological well-being, and a healthy body weight. To reduce the risk of chronic disease, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 recommends engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week for adults. To prevent weight gain over time, the Guidelines recommend about 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days while not exceeding caloric intake requirements.1

In 2005, only 50.9 percent of women reported engaging in at least 10 minutes of moderate leisure-time physical activity per week, and 32.0 percent reported at least 10 minutes of vigorous activity. Among those reporting any physical activity in the last week, men were more likely to engage in at least 10 minutes of vigorous activity (41.8 percent) and, overall, participated in physical activity for a greater average number of minutes than women. While men reported an average of 235 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week, women reported spending an average of 194 and 179 minutes, respectively.

The percentage of women reporting at least 10 minutes of physical activity in the past week varied with age. Younger women were much more likely to participate in both moderate and vigorous activity than older women. For instance, more than 50 percent of women under the age of 65 participated in at least 10 minutes of moderate physical activity, compared to only 36 percent of women 75 years and older. The difference is greater when comparing vigorous physical activity: 40.1 percent of women 1844 years versus 8.9 percent of women 75 years and older report at least 10 minutes of vigorous activity.

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2005.

 
   

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Women's Health USA 2007 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2007. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007.