Calling Us Sluggish Is a Slur on Slugs

It’s not as if Americans don’t get lots of exercise. The problem lies in how that exercise is distributed. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about one in five adults have a “high level of overall physical activity,” even as one in four engage in “little or no regular physical activity.” The chart has the gory details. As you’d guess, people over age 65 are especially likely to say they “never” engage in physical activity: 26 percent of women and 18 percent of men in the 65-plus bracket admit as much. But even in the 18-24 age cohort, the sum of “never active” plus “low”-activity folks amounts to 15 percent of men and 22 percent of women. If you assume people let themselves go to seed once they marry, the study indicates otherwise. Among married people, 8 percent are in the “never active” category. The equivalent number is 11 percent for those who’ve never married, 10 percent for those who are cohabiting and 11 percent for those who are divorced/separated. And marrieds are the most likely to be in the “high”-activity category.