January 22, 2020

More than 15% of Americans are inactive, and rates of inactivity are especially high in the Southern United States, according to new CDC data.

Understand the wellness spectrum—and promote healthy habits at work

US inactivity levels vary by state

CDC defined inactivity as having done no leisure-time physical activities within the past month, including running, walking for exercise, or gardening.

The agency found that seven states and two U.S. territories had inactivity rates at or above 30%, while only four states had inactivity rates between 15% and 20%:

The report also found that states in the South had the highest rates of inactivity at 28%, followed by states in the Northeast at 25.6%, the Midwest at 25%, and the West at 20.5%.

In addition, the report found significant differences by race, with Hispanics reporting the highest levels of inactivity at 31.7%, followed by blacks at 30.3%, and whites at 23.4%.


According to CDC, inactivity contributes to 1 in 10 premature deaths in the United States and costs the American health system $117 billion each year.

Ruth Petersen, director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, said, "Too many adults are inactive, and they may not know how much it affects their health."

She added, "Being physically active helps you sleep better, feel better, and reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers" (Preidt, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 1/16; CDC data, January 2020).

10 tools for prioritizing community health interventions

This toolkit outlines four steps for focusing on the highest return community health needs: Define core measures, prioritize key activities, create formal partnership compacts, and evaluate performance of community-based interventions.

Each step is supported by sample resources including surveys, prioritization tools, and metric pick lists.

Download Now
Download Now