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About 5 Percent of American Adults Report Vigorous Activity

Food and drink preparation ranks high in light activity frequency

FRIDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- On any given day in the United States, most adults perform mostly sedentary and light activities -- with only 5 percent reporting any vigorous activity, according to research published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Catrine Tudor-Locke, Ph.D., of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and colleagues analyzed activity data on 79,652 adult respondents to the American Time Use Survey from 2003 to 2008 to determine the 10 most frequently reported non-sleep and non-work activities by level of intensity: sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous.

The researchers found that the most frequently reported non-work, non-sleep sedentary activities were eating and drinking (95.6 percent) and TV- and movie-watching (80.1 percent); washing, dressing, and grooming (78.9 percent) were highest in the light activities group, followed by driving a vehicle (71.4 percent); food and drink preparation ranked highest for moderate activity (25.7 percent), followed by care of lawns, gardens, and houseplants (10.6 percent). Only 5.07 percent of respondents reported any vigorous physical activity, and the most common vigorous activities reported were using cardiovascular equipment (2.2 percent) and running (1.1 percent).

"Knowing the most frequently reported intensity-defined behaviors can inform intervention strategies aimed at improving energy balance or enhance questionnaire design by targeting queries related to time spent in such behaviors. As a single more-detailed example of utility, data can be collected using objective monitors under controlled conditions on these most frequently reported sedentary behaviors and provide valuable calibration data useful for identifying and tracking sedentary behaviors in objectively monitored surveillance and intervention studies," the authors write.

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