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CDC Sees a Nation of Couch Potatoes

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Even when vacuuming, gardening, mowing the lawn and walking or bicycling to work are counted as physical activity, most Americans don't get enough exercise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Only 45 percent of adults exercise for half an hour five times a week, the CDC said in releasing its report --- the first to include household and commuting activities as exercise, along with sports and other leisure-time pursuits.

Georgia's percentage was even lower. The CDC's national survey, conducted in 2001, found that 39 percent of Georgians reported regular activity. Wyoming ranked first, with 56 percent. Kentucky was last, with 29 percent.

"We have a long way to go in increasing physical activity," said Harold Kohl, a CDC epidemiologist. "A little bit of activity is better than none, and a little bit more than that is even better."

The CDC, through educational efforts, aims to increase regular activity among adults to about 60 percent, Kohl said.

The Atlanta-based agency recommends at least 30 minutes of activity at least five times a week to reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

The Institute of Medicine, which advises Congress, suggests an hour of activity a day to maintain a healthy body weight.

Copyright 2003 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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