In 2010, about 1 in 3 adults who had seen a physician or other health care professional in the past year had been advised to begin to exercise or continue with their physical activity program, says a February 8 National Center for Health Statistics data brief. Furthermore, the percentage of adults who had been advised to exercise increased from 22.6% in 2000 to 32.4% in 2010.
Younger people were told to exercise more often than older adults in 2010. However, adults aged 18-24 had the smallest increase over the decade 2000-2010 in the percentage receiving a recommendation to exercise (from 10.4% in 2000 to 16.1% in 2010), while adults aged 85 and over had the largest percentage point increase (from 15.3% in 2000 to 28.9% in 2010). In addition, Hispanic adults had the largest percentage point increase over the decade 2000-2010 in receiving a recommendation to exercise.
Receiving advice to exercise varied with having selected chronic health conditions. Between 2000 and 2010, receipt of advice from a physician to exercise or engage in physical activity increased for adults with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Adults with diabetes were more likely than those with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or cancer to have been advised to exercise. In 2010, more than one-half of adults with diabetes were advised to exercise, compared with just over one-third of adults with cancer.
Adults who were obese were about twice as likely as healthy weight adults to have been advised by a physician or other health care professional to exercise. The percentage of adults who had been advised to exercise increased in each body mass index category (underweight, healthy weight, overweight, obese) between 2000 and 2010, although the percentage point increase was largest for adults who were obese.