US Pharm. 2018;43(8):18.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 12.4% of men are in fair-to-poor health, and physical activity would be beneficial for them irrespective of age. From 2011 to 2014, 73.3% of men were considered to be overweight or obese. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG) provides evidence-based guidance on physical activity and fitness, with a focus on aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity. (A second edition of the guidelines is in development.) In 2015, 25.3% of men met PAG recommendations for both types of physical activity, and with age progression, the rate dropped by one-third (from 32.1% to 21.6%) between ages 18 to 44 years and 45 to 64 years.

Obesity: Over the last 20 years, obesity has increased significantly, with 38.7%, 35.0%, and 5.5% of men being overweight, obese, and extremely obese, respectively. Medical costs for obese men were $1,429 greater (42% higher) than those for men of normal weight. In 2014, approximately 50.2%, 29.0%, 25.6%, and 19.5% of Asian American, African American, white, and Hispanic men, respectively, were of normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9). Asian American men had the lowest prevalence (9.4%) of grade 1 obesity (BMI 30-34.9), and Hispanic men had the highest (27.2%). The prevalence of grade 2 obesity (BMI 35-39.9) varied little between African American (8.9%), white (7.8%), and Hispanic men (7.3%).

Aerobic Activity: For adults aged 18 to 64 years, the PAG recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day (performed in intervals of at least 10 minutes) for a total of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination. Aerobic activity was most common among white men at 53.1%, followed closely by Asian American (51%), American Indian (46.9%), Hispanic (43.3%), and African American men (42.1%). Men aged 45 to 74 years performed 4.3% less aerobic activity, which aligned with the PAG’s recommendation of keeping physically active as long as one’s abilities and chronic conditions permit.

Muscle-Strengthening Activity: The PAG recommends that adults perform moderate- or high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity that involves all major muscle groups on two or more days per week. Muscle-strengthening activity includes—but is not limited to—weight-lifting, push-ups, sit-ups, and resistance bands. Across all age groups, twice as many men did aerobic activity compared with PAG-recommended muscle-strengthening activity. Both types of physical activity were performed most often among white men (23.5%) and least often among Hispanic men (16.8%). The amount of muscle-strengthening activity decreased 20% in men aged 45 to 74 years.

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