To Your Health: In Hawaii, we’re moving — but not enough

MADD edit 21Year after year, surveys find that Hawaii residents get more exercise, eat more good-for-you foods, and have lower rates of chronic conditions than our mainland counterparts.

But don’t let it go to your heads, folks.

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows we have room for improvement when it comes to how much we move.

Adult activity levels are a bright spot.

• Nearly 8 in 10 Hawaii adults reported participating in some sort of leisure-time physical activity. Nationally, about 25 percent of adults said they do some sort of physical activity for leisure.

• Some 58.5 percent of Hawaii residents over 18 got in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. That figure was 52 percent nationwide.

• And about 5.8 percent of Hawaii adults said they regularly bike or walk to work. Not astounding numbers, but certainly better than the 3.4 percent nationally.

Hawaii certainly isn’t where it wants to be, but we’re doing better than the national average and lots of other states.

Kids’ activity levels are not.

Father Son Stretch• Some 17 percent of Hawaii youth said they did not engage in an hour or more of physical activity on any day of the week. That’s higher than the national average of 15 percent.

• Meanwhile, just 22 percent of Hawaii’s young people reported meeting the government’s physical activity guideline of getting at least an hour of physical activity daily. Across the country, the figure was 27 percent.

• And about 7 percent of Hawaii youth said they were in a daily physical education course, compared to 29 percent nationwide.

We have to do better.

The CDC says all Americans should be working to meet minimum physical activity guidelines.

For adults, that means getting at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity, aerobic activity (or a combination of the two).

At least twice a week, adults should also be doing muscle-strengthening exercises that involve all major muscle groups.

Kids, meanwhile, need to be getting at least an hour or more of physical activity at least three days a week.

Are you and your family members meeting these guidelines? If not, commit to making small, manageable goals that will add more movement to your day. Consider gardening, walking or biking to the store instead of driving, or enjoying a stroll to the park to eat your lunch. 

One comment

  • Thanks for the post.

    Maybe more people would report engaging in “moderate-intensity” physical activity if they knew what it is?

    According to the the World Health organization ( these are “moderate-intensity” activities:
    1. Brisk walking.
    2. Dancing.
    3. Gardening.
    4. Housework and domestic chores.
    5. Traditional hunting and gathering.
    6. Active involvement in games and sports with children, or walking domestic animals.
    7. General building tasks (e.g., roofing, thatching, painting).
    8. Carrying or moving moderate loads (<20kg) (20kg is ~44lb)

    Maybe a lot don't indulge in activities 5 or 7. I bet a number of people do activities 1-4 and 6 as part of their normal routines.

    I've seen many people hauling around various combinations of purses, briefcases, computer and/or gym bags that would well add up to ~44lb. Combine that with racing to catch your bus and you're really packing in the workout!

    If you think about it, knowing what kinds of activities are "moderate-intensity" may make it easier to see it as part of your day, instead of something else you have to add to your crowded day!


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