Health Status > Health Behaviors

Physical Activity

Regular physical activity promotes health, psychological well-being, and a healthy body weight. To reduce the risk of chronic disease, the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week for adults. To prevent weight gain over time, the Guidelines recommend about 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days while not exceeding calorie intake requirements.1

In 2004, 51.7 percent of women reported engaging in at least 10 minutes of moderate leisure-time physical activity per week, and 31.8 percent reported a similar amount of vigorous activity. Men participated in physical activity for a greater average number of minutes than women: among those who reported physical activity in the last week, women averaged 187 minutes of moderate activity compared to 221 minutes among men. Women averaged 174 minutes of vigorous activity compared to 231 minutes among men.

Among adults who participated in physical activity, some of the most popular activities included walking, dancing, and bicycling. Women were more likely than men to report walking (37.6 versus 22.3 percent) and dancing (12.7 versus 7.7 percent), while men were more likely to report bicycling (8.7 versus 10.6 percent) and golf (3.1 versus 11.2 percent).

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 2005.

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Women's Health USA 2006 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2006. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006.