Young people and adults are at risk for health problems when they are inactive. Physical activity declines dramatically during adolescence. Nearly half of young people between 12 and 21 do not regularly engage in vigorous physical activity; participation in all types of physical activity declines strikingly as people age. Only about a third of adults meet current public health recommendations for regular moderate physical activity, and about a quarter report no leisure-time physical activity at all.
Estimates are that some 300,000 deaths each year in the U. S. likely are the results of physical inactivity and poor eating habits. These deaths range across a number of diseases, from heart disease and stroke to colon cancer and diabetes. Physical activity levels tend to decrease as a person ages. A physically inactive child is more likely to become a physically inactive adult, which can lead to chronic disease and premature death.
Physical activity and a healthy diet can enhance health and prevent disease. Physical activity includes running, walking, biking and swimming. Other ways to prevent physical inactivity include giving greater attention to diets low in fat, high in fiber, calcium, and fruits and vegetables to promote better health.