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Exercise Increasingly Recommended By Doctors, CDC Says


More U.S. physicians are prescribing exercise to patients, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics found in 2010, about one in three adults who had seen a doctor or health professional in the past year had been advised to increase physical activity or exercise. This is more than 40 percent increase since 2000, when one in four adults reported receiving similar advice.

The CDC used data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2000, 2005 and 2010. The data was collected by the US Census Bureau.

Among adults age 85 and older, there was a nearly two-fold increase from 15.3 percent in 2000 to 28.9 percent in 2010 in recommendations for physical activity. Adults age 45 to 74 were the largest group to receive this advice; 18 to 24-year-olds were the least likely to receive the recommendation.

Percentages of those being told to increase their exercise went up for all age groups in the survey. There was also an upward trend among all race and ethnic groups, with Hispanic adults showing the largest percentage increase over the decade, from 20.8% of adults receiving a recommendation to exercise in 2000 to 35.8% in 2010.

Additional findings include:

  • 56.3 percent of adults with diabetes who had seen their doctor in the last 12 months were advised to exercise.
  • 35.8 percent of adults with cancer who had seen their doctor were advised to exercise in the last 12 months.
  • Adults who were obese were about twice as likely as healthy weight adults to receive advice from their doctor to begin or continue to exercise.

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