The United States may have slipped behind Mexico when it comes to obesity; however, its exercise rates are still dismal. A new report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention states that only 20% of U.S. adults exercise enough.

Published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2013; 62 [17], 326-30), the study includes data gathered through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System—a state-based, random-digit-dialed telephone survey of adults 18 and over.

The 497,967 respondents were queried on amount and type of regular nonwork physical activity achieved during the past month or week. They were classified into categories, based on the findings, and then compared with the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines recommend achieving at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardiovascular activity per week. The guidelines also recommend at least two muscle-strengthening activities per week.

“For 2011, 20.6% of U.S. adults were classified as meeting both the aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines, including 23.4% of men and 17.9% of women,” the study authors pointed out. “By age group, the prevalence of meeting both aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines ranged from 30.7% among persons aged 18-24 years to 15.9% among those aged ≥65 years. Among racial/ethnic groups, prevalence was lower among Hispanic adults (18.4%) than among non-Hispanic blacks (21.2%) and non-Hispanic whites (20.7%).”