The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

December 10, 2012

Inactivity isn't just lack of exercise

— The Newseum is a popular Washington D.C. tourist destination. It sort of memorializes sitting around and reading the newspaper, something that's being rapidly replaced by sitting around and reading boring postings on social media.

So perhaps it was fitting that public health specialists gathered at the Newseum last week for a four-hour panel discussion imaginatively titled "Inactivity in America: A Looming Public Health Crisis." At the energetic urging of my editor, I went and sat through all four hours of it.

Although it involved a lot of sitting, the discussion wasn’t only about our individual need to be more physically active; it mainly discussed how the country can adopt a mentality that says constant movement--as opposed to just doing exercises--is needed for a healthy lifestyle, not just for looking good or appearing to be fit on the surface.

The question that lingered over the conference and that each panel member tried to answer was why it's so hard for a lot of us to stay physically active and truly realize that constant movement can add years to our lives.

We’ve all heard of the reports, statistics and studies on the importance of being physically active, but inactivity in the United States and other developed countries is still not just a huge problem, it’s a full-on crisis. And based on the findings released in the conference, it’s time for health leaders and consumers to go into crisis mode.

Low fitness levels

According to recent study findings, 41 percent of all U.S. adults are inactive or underactive, and 25 to 35 percent of Americans have low respiratory fitness due to sitting most of the day, whether at work, at home or in the car.

When it comes to the adult population, the average person’s life just isn’t set up to include a lot of physical activity, since most towns in the U.S. are steeped in the car culture and many jobs force you to sit instead of walk, run or stand. 

Text Only
Top News
  • Taylorville couple wins $20M lotto jackpot

    A Taylorville couple has celebrated winning a more than $20 million Illinois Lottery drawing.

    Steve and Wilma Durbin were presented with their winning check Thursday afternoon at a grocery store in the central Illinois city where they purchased the ticket. The couple took a lump sum payment of $8.1 million after taxes.

    The Taylorville Breeze-Courier reports the Durbins hit the jackpot in the April 10 Illinois Lotto drawing. That was just two weeks after they were married.

    April 17, 2014

  • Branstad signs school radon bill into law

    The Iowa Department of Education must gather information from schools about whether they are testing for radon gas under a bill Gov. Terry Branstad has signed into law.

    Branstad signed the bill Thursday to require school districts to tell the department about radon testing by the end of this year. The department must then report to the Legislature by January.

    April 17, 2014

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

    Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too cold for life.

    The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

    April 17, 2014

  • Defend 'Obamacare' unabashedly, some Democrats say

    With enrollments higher than expected, and costs lower, some Democrats say it's time to stop hiding from the president's health care overhaul, even in this year's toughest Senate elections.

    Republicans practically dare Democrats to embrace "Obamacare," the GOP's favorite target in most congressional campaigns. Yet pro-Democratic activists in Alaska are doing just that, and a number of strategists elsewhere hope it will spread.

    April 17, 2014

  • Search for Chicago site for George Lucas museum

    As Yoda might say: A site for a museum you must find.

    Those are the marching orders Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving a dozen civic leaders as the city searches for a potential location for an interactive museum to house filmmaker George Lucas' collection of art and filmmaking memorabilia.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video