Americans are exercising more, a new study shows, but that's failed to reduce the obesity epidemic and has done little to increase life expectancy.
A report on physical activity and life expectancy in the U.S. that was published Wednesday by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows that men and women became more physically active over the last decade in two-thirds of the nation's counties.
Washington stands out in the data. San Juan County is the fifth most active for women (71.6%), and Jefferson County has the fifth most active men (72.2%).
Despite the increase in physical activity over the past 10 years, another new study from IHME shows that the rise in life expectancies for Americans has been slow compared to other countries.
The highest life expectancy for men increased from 75.5 years in 1985 to 81.7 years in 2010, and the lowest life expectancy remained under 65, lower than Indonesia's expectancy.
For women at the county level, the highest life expectancy rose from 91.1 years in 1985 to 85 years in 2010. The lowest life expectancy remained at around 73 years, which ranks below Botswana.
Despite the rising physical activity trend, high body mass index is now the fourth-leading risk factor for health, the IHME study on U.S. health showed. Obesity continues to be a problem in the U.S., and dietary risks pose the greatest threat to health. The top 10 risk factors for health loss in 2010 and the number of deaths attributable to each were:
Dietary risks: 678,282
High blood pressure: 442,656
High body mass index: 363,991
Physical inactivity: 234,022
High blood sugar: 213,669
High total cholesterol: 158,431
Ambient air pollution: 103,027
Alcohol use: 88,587
Drug use: 25,430