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health world

Southerners least likely to exercise, study finds. So what's the excuse? Humidity?

February 17, 2011|By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
(Screen grab from www.cdc.gov )

Here's one part of the country that might be immune to zumba fever. Americans may be especially sluggish these days, judging by the obesity rates, but a new study suggests that adults in Appalachia and a handful of Southern states are especially reluctant to move if they don't have to.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated activity levels in every county of the nation using data from 2004 to 2008. The report found that folks in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee are least likely to exercise in their leisure time.

Why does the CDC care? Because the areas of inactivity also show the highest levels of diagnosed diabetes and obesity. "Physical activity is crucial to managing diabetes and reducing serious complications of the disease," Ann Albright, director of CDC's division of diabetes translation, said in a statement about the report. "Moderate intensity activities such as dancing or brisk walking, for just 150 minutes a week, can significantly improve the health of people with diabetes or at high risk for the disease."

Check out this CDC map that depicts at-a-glance who's exercising -- and who isn't. It also provides data by county to see how your area fares.

Oh, and the most physically active people live on the West Coast, Colorado, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast. Who knows, maybe there are more zumba classes there.

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