Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

HHS Releases Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition

HHS Releases Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition

The guidelines, which emphasize decreasing sitting time for adults, say the failure to meet these levels leads to about $117 billion in annual health care costs and 10 percent of all premature death.

"[The] recommendations emphasize that moving more and sitting less will benefit almost everyone", wrote the authors in the 2018 edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. "Some physical activity is better than none", wrote the authors, adding that "virtually everyone benefits from increased activities" and "even short episodes of small amounts of physical activity are beneficial".

For older children and adults, moderate-to-vigorous activity can include brisk walking, running or "anything that makes the heart beat faster", and adults should aim for about 2½ hours each week.

"The new guidelines demonstrate that, based on the best science, everyone can dramatically improve their health just by moving - anytime, anywhere, and by any means that gets you active", Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a release.

The standard prescription is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity a week, as well as muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.

The group, which was not involved in crafting the guidelines, says that exercise isn't a cure for Alzheimer's, but it notes that physical activity and other lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

The American Heart Association said it will adopt the guidelines as its official recommendations.

- The JAMA editorial, "New Physical Activity Guidelines - A Call to Activity for Clinicians and Patients", by Paul D. Thompson, M.D., Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut, and Thijs M.H. Eijsvogels, Ph.D., Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. New evidence has also shown a link to immediate health benefits including a reduction in blood pressure and anxiety and improvements in quality of sleep and insulin sensitivity.

The updated guidelines feature key recommendations for children aged 3-5 as well as 6-17, adults, older adults, pregnant and post-partum women, as well as adults with chronic health conditions and disabilities.

Medicine moves faster every day.

The new guidelines prescribe activity throughout the day for preschool children to enhance growth and development. "People who sit a lot have an increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality, as well as an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon, endometrial, and lung cancers", the guidelines say.

While the debate around health insurance and "pre-existing conditions" continues to rage in political circles the US government is now officially begging people to take care of themselves a bit better.

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