The most physically inactive states, ranked

More than 15% of adults in all U.S. states and territories were physically inactive between 2015 and 2018, according to recent data from the CDC, with estimates ranging from 17.3% to 47.7% between regions.

The report, based on combined data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, studied the prevalence of physical inactivity—defined as engaging in no leisure-time physical activity within the past month—in the U.S. Analyses revealed notable differences between racial and ethnic groups in the country, with 31.7% of Hispanics self-reporting physical inactivity compared to 30.3% of non-Hispanic blacks and 23.4% of non-Hispanic whites.

In all states and territories, more than 15% of adults reported being physically inactive. Five states and Puerto Rico had a physical inactivity prevalence of 30% or higher among non-Hispanic white adults; the same was true in 22 states and Puerto Rico for Hispanic adults and 23 states plus the District of Columbia for non-Hispanic black adults.

In seven states and two territories—Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and Guam—30% or more of adults were physically inactive. Physical inactivity was highest in Puerto Rico, affecting nearly half the population, and lowest in Colorado, where it affected 17.3% of the population. Other regions that had low rates of physical inactivity included the District of Columbia, Oregon, Utah and Washington, and Alabama, Arkansas, Guam, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee were among the areas with the highest rates.

The report showed that the South had the highest prevalence of physical activity in the U.S. (28%), followed by the Northeast (25.6%), Midwest (25%) and West (20.5%).

It’s well-established that regular physical activity can help ward off heart disease and other chronic illnesses. All major industry groups endorse exercise as a way to keep CV risk factors in check, and “Get Active” is number three on the American Heart Association’s list of “Life’s Simple 7” behaviors for better heart health.

Find the full CDC report online here.

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