29 March 2009

Exercise by adults correlates with education

In 1997 and 2007, the percentage of adults aged >25 years who reported regular leisure-time physical activity increased with level of education. In 2007, persons with a college degree or more were nearly three times as likely to report regular leisure-time physical activity (43.4%) as those who did not complete high school (14.9%). However, regardless of education level, from 1997 to 2007 no progress was made toward meeting the Healthy People 2010 target of 50% of persons reporting regular leisure-time physical activity.


  1. I am curious if it correlates better with types of jobs more than with education?

  2. A.Fischer, I was just wondering roughly the same thing--perhaps it correlates with pay, since lesuire time physical activity tends to be expensive (e.g. gym membership).

  3. Plus, many jobs include physical activity built in, so "exercise" for the sake of health is not necessary.

    For example, I'm a software developer who was struggling a bit with my weight. Instead of joining a gym, I began helping out a few days a week with a friends construction/remodeling company, and was able to get my weight back down to where I wanted it. In addition, I'm in better physical shape now.

  4. And furthermore, the jobs that have "built-in" exercise tend to be those which require less education.

    I sense a lot of classism in this chart. Classifying exercise as a leisure activity makes it seem like the only exercise that counts is when a person stops all other activities, puts on a special outfit, and focuses on exercising. That, it seems to me, is a very middle-class or upper-class way of staying fit (and also is pretty weird, if you ask me). What about the very legitimate exercise that comes from active play with kids, gardening, physical job-related work, taking a walk with a friend, or even high-intensity cleaning or cooking?

    It seems to me if we're going to focus on creating a more healthy society, we've got to think of exercise and movement as part of our daily activities, not a separate, "leisure time" activity, which effectively restricts it to those with abundant resources and leisure time.

    So there's my beef with this chart.


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