Physicians are getting better at advising adults to exercise.
Photo courtesy National Cancer Institute/Bill Branson
In 2010, 32.4% of adults in the United States who had seen a physician or other health care professional in the past year had received a recommendation to begin or continue to do exercise or physical activity, up from 22.6% in 2000. At each time point, women were more likely than men to have been advised to exercise.
The findings, published this month as a National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief, come from the National Health Interview Surveys conducted in 2000, 2005, and 2010.
Between 2000 and 2010 the percentage of patients aged 85 and older who received a “get fit” recommendation from a physician nearly doubled from 15.3% to 28.9%. The percentage of patients aged 18-24 years receiving such a recommendation also increased during the same time period, but to a lesser extent (from 10.4% to 16.1%).
The report also found that the percentage of adults with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes who received exercise advice from a physician increased between 2000 and 2010.
“Trends over the past 10 years suggest that the medical community is increasing its efforts to recommend participation in exercise and other physical activity that research has shown to be associated with substantial health benefits,” the report states. “Still, the prevalence of receiving this advice remains well below one-half of U.S. adults and varies substantially across population subgroups.”
— Doug Brunk (on Twitter@dougbrunk)
Photo courtesy National Cancer Institute Visuals Online
The physical and psychological health benefits of dog ownership for adults are well known, but data from a new study suggest that Mom isn’t always the one on dog-care duty.
photo by Heidi Splete
In a study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, John Sirard, Ph.D., of the University of Virginia and colleagues surveyed 618 teen/parent pairs in Minneapolis about their physical activity levels and how many, if any, dogs they had at home. The teens wore accelerometers to track their physical activity levels for 1 week.
The researchers found that teens with dogs were more active, even after controlling for the usual suspects of gender, race, and socioeconomic status. Both measures of activity – accelerometer counts per minute and the average daily minutes of “moderate to vigorous physical activity” – were significantly greater in teens who had dogs.
But here’s the interesting twist: According to the researchers, “dog walking behavior and active play with the family dog were not assessed in the current study and need to be studied further.”
Although having a dog doesn’t guarantee an increase in activity, the findings suggest that even teens who don’t walk the dog will likely get up off the sofa to let the dog out, and in, and back out. . . even if they don’t put down their phones.
Of course, the study was limited by the use of a homogenous sample, but it is the first to address the impact of dog ownership on activity in teens.
Bonus: A dog gives parents and teens something to talk about, too.
–Heidi Splete (on twitter @hsplete)