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Awareness of National Physical Activity Recommendations for Health Promotion among US Adults

BENNETT, GARY G.1,2; WOLIN, KATHLEEN Y.3; PULEO, ELAINE M.4; MÂSSE, LOUISE C.5; ATIENZA, AUDIE A.6

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 10 - pp 1849-1855
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181a52100
Basic Sciences

Purpose: To examine whether knowledge of the 1995 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) national physical activity recommendations varies by sociodemographic, behavioral, and communication-related factors.

Methods: Cross-sectional analyses of 2381 participants in the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey, a national probability sample of the US population contacted via random-digit dial.

Results: Only a third of respondents were accurately knowledgeable of the CDC/ACSM physical activity recommendations. Recommendation knowledge was higher among women (OR = 1.70; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.35-2.14) than men, the employed compared with those not currently working (OR = 0.73; 95% CI = 0.55-0.95), foreign-born individuals (OR = 1.62; 95% CI = 1.15-2.30) compared with the US-born, and those meeting CDC/ACSM recommendations vs those who do not (OR = 0.74; 95% CI = 0.58-0.96).

Conclusions: There is not widespread knowledge of the consensus national physical activity recommendations. These findings highlight the need for more effective campaigns to promote physical activity among the American public.

1Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; 2Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA; 3Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; 4University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA; 5University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA; and 6National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD

Address for correspondence: Gary G. Bennett, Ph.D., Duke University, Box 90086, 9 Flowers Dr, Durham, NC 27708; E-mail: gary.bennett@duke.edu.

Submitted for publication June 2008.

Accepted for publication February 2009.

©2009The American College of Sports Medicine