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Physical Activity, Nutrition,
and Obesity Prevention

Physical Activity:  A Key to Good Health 

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition. These guidelines recommend:

Image: Group Walk

  1. Children and adolescents need 1 hour or more moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity each day, for 5 or more days a week. As a part of the 1 hour, on at least 3 days per week, children and adolescents need vigorous activity, activity that strengthens muscles, and activity that strengthens bones.
  2. Adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g. brisk walking) every week, preferably in sessions of 20 minutes or more, scattered throughout the week.  Adults also need muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.
  3. Older adults ages 65 years or older needs at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity (e.g. brisk walking) every week. Older adults also need muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week. Older adults also need to engage in balance improving activities.

In Delaware, 36.6% of adults do not meet any of the guidelines, and only 24% of adults meet both aerobic and strength-building guidelines (2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey).  A majority of public high school students (58.8%) do not meet the guideline of 60 minutes a day 5 days a week (2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey). 

Healthy physical activity includes aerobic activity (walking, bicycling, swimming, etc.), muscle strengthening activities, and activities to increase balance and flexibility.  Regular physical activity is important for good health, and is especially important for weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.

Physical activity helps to:

  • Maintain or lose weight
  • Manage or prevent stress
  • Reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Reduce risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and several types of cancer
  • Improve brain health
  • Reduce arthritis pain and associated disability
  • Reduce risk for osteoporosis and injury from falls
  • Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Increase energy, strength, and stamina

More About Physical Activity


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