Utilization of 2013 BRFSS physical activity data for state cancer control plan objectives: Alabama data

Academic Article


  • © 2015 by The Southern Medical Association. Objectives All comprehensive US cancer control plans mention physical activity and implement physical activity promotion objectives as part of these cancer plans. The purpose of this investigation was to describe the physical activities reported by Alabama adults in the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BFRSS) and to compare these activities by age group and relative exercise intensity. Methods This investigation used data on 6503 respondents from the 2013 BRFSS sample of respondents from Alabama with landline and cellular telephones. Respondents were asked whether they engaged in any physical activities or aerobic exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking. Information was collected on strengthening activities such as yoga, sit-ups, push-ups, and using weight machines, free weights, and elastic bands. Relative exercise intensity was estimated for each aerobic activity by comparing the 60% maximal oxygen uptake with metabolic equivalent values. Results Approximately two-thirds (63.7%) of respondents reported that they engaged in exercise in the past 30 days; 45.4% participated in enough aerobic activity per week to meet guidelines, and 25.9% met the muscle-strengthening guidelines. Only 10.1% of respondents 65 years old and older met both aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines, compared with 15.2% of those 18 to 64 years old (P < 0.05). The most common activity reported for ages 18 to 64 years was walking (53.3%), followed by running (12.7%), and gardening (4.7%). Among adults aged 65 and older, the top three activities were walking (63.2%), gardening (13.3%), and use of a bicycle machine (2.9%). The activity intensity was significantly greater for walking, gardening, and household activities among older adults compared with those younger than age 65. Conclusions Because the recommended levels of physical activity are not met by a majority of Alabama residents, it is important to incorporate this information into state cancer objectives. Older adults may have higher relative energy costs compared with younger adults. Future studies should discern whether activities previously classified as low intensity have adequate health benefits, especially for cancer survivors and older adults with comorbidities.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Desmond R; Jackson BE; Hunter G
  • Start Page

  • 290
  • End Page

  • 297
  • Volume

  • 108
  • Issue

  • 5