(HealthDay News) — More than one-quarter of Americans over 50 don’t exercise, increasing their risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, according to research published in the Sept. 16 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Researchers analyzed results of a 2014 national survey about health, focusing on people aged 50 and older. Inactivity was defined as moving around only to accomplish routine daily duties. Based on that definition, 31 million older Americans are inactive — 29.4 percent of women and 25.5 percent of men.
One-third of Hispanics and blacks were inactive (32.7 and 33.1 percent, respectively), compared with 26.2 percent of whites and 27.1 percent of people in other racial and ethnic groups. Age was also a factor: 35.3 percent of people aged 75 and older were inactive, as were 26.9 percent of those between 65 and 74, and 25.4 percent of those aged 50 to 64. Southerners were least likely to exercise: 30.1 percent were inactive. In comparison, 28.4 percent of older people in the Midwest, 26.6 percent in the Northeast, and 23.1 percent in the West were inactive. Colorado had the most active older Americans, with 82.1 percent getting daily exercise. People in Arkansas were the least active, with only 61.2 percent getting daily exercise.
“More work is needed to make it safer and easier for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active in their communities,” lead author Kathleen Watson, Ph.D., an epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, said in a CDC news release.