Q: How much do we spend on weight-loss products and services?
A: Americans spend $33 billion annually on weight-loss products and services. (This figure represents consumer dollars spent in the early 1990’s on all efforts at weight loss or weight maintenance including low-calorie foods, artificially sweetened products such as diet sodas, and memberships to commercial weight-loss centers.)
Q: How physically active is the U.S. population?
A: Less than one-third (31.8 percent) of U.S. adults get regular leisure-time physical activity (defined as light or moderate activity five times or more per week for 30 minutes or more each time and/or vigorous activity three times or more per week for 20 minutes or more each time). About 10 percent of adults do no physical activity at all in their leisure time.
About 25 percent of young people (ages 12-21 years) participate in light to moderate activity (e.g., walking, bicycling) nearly every day. About 50 percent regularly engage in vigorous physical activity. Approximately 25 percent report no vigorous physical activity, and 14 percent report no recent vigorous or light to moderate physical activity.
Q: What is the cost of lack of physical activity?
A: The direct cost of physical inactivity may be as high as $24.3 billion.
Q: What are the benefits of physical activity?
A: In addition to helping to control weight, physical activity decreases the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and reduces the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, and colon cancer.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by David A. Scott, M.D.