America’s Couch Potato Problem Costs $117 Billion a Year
Health Care

America’s Couch Potato Problem Costs $117 Billion a Year

Reuters/Toby Melville

The Department of Health and Human Services on Monday issued new guidelines for Americans’ physical activity for the first time in 10 years. The updated recommendations call for people to people to sit less and move more and say that adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, plus muscle-strengthening activities such as weight lifting on 2 or more days a week. 

The new guidelines aren’t very different from the previous ones, but HHS says that few Americans — 26 percent of men, 19 percent of women and 20 percent of adolescents — meet those recommendations. And it says the economic and health costs of our collective inactivity is high: “an estimated $117 billion in annual health care costs and about 10% of premature mortality are associated with inadequate physical activity.”

Click here for the revised “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” (pdf) from HHS.