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Adults in the United States Living a Less Healthy Lifestyle

Obesity higher, adults eat fewer fruits and vegetables and exercise less

MONDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged and elderly adults in the United States have been living a less healthy lifestyle over the last 18 years, according to a study in the June issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

Dana E. King, M.D., and colleagues from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston compared data on healthy lifestyle habits from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994 and from 2001 to 2006 among adults 40 to 74 years old.

Over the past 18 years, the researchers found that the percentage of obese adults (body mass index of 30 or greater) increased significantly, from 28 to 36 percent. Significantly fewer adults reported physical activity 12 times a month or more (43 versus 53 percent), fewer people ate five or more fruits or vegetables per day (26 versus 42 percent), and moderate alcohol use increased (51 versus 40 percent). Smoking rates remained similar at approximately 26 percent. Having a history of cardiovascular problems or diabetes did not affect the likelihood of adhering to a healthy lifestyle, according to the study.

"Generally, adherence to a healthy lifestyle pattern has decreased during the last 18 years, with decreases documented in three of five healthy lifestyle habits," King and colleagues conclude. "These findings have broad implications for the future risk of cardiovascular disease in adults."

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