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Let's Get Physical

Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD
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U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging; Boston, MA 02111. Requests for Reprints: Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD, U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(2):133-134. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-129-2-199807150-00015
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The evidence for the beneficial effects of physical activity grows ever more compelling, even as the discrepancy between promise and practice widens. Physical activity as part of daily living is associated with decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, cognitive decline, depression, diabetes, obesity, and all-cause mortality [1]. Yet the U.S. population grows increasingly sedentary. In a recent analysis of patterns and trends in physical activity, the U.S. Surgeon General reported that 15% of Americans older than 18 years of age engaged in regular vigorous activity, but 60% reported no regular or sustained leisure time activity, and 27% reported no leisure time activity at all [2]. The report cites the most recent Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1991), which said that 32% of women 65 to 74 years of age and 54% of women older than 75 years of age engaged in no leisure time physical activity. Comparable figures for men in the same age categories were 18% and 34%.

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