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New Exercise Guidelines Issued


Kansas City, MO – The federal government recently issued new exercise guidelines. Officials say that in some ways, they're easier to meet than prior guidelines. But for many Kansans and Missourians, several obstacles stand in the way of following them. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.

Two and a half hours per week of moderate aerobic exercise. That's the recommended amount of physical activity the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now says will help lower an adult's risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes. But according to the most recent state health surveys, about one in four Missourians and about one in five Kansans report that they don't exercise at all. Jennifer Church manages the Physical Activity and Nutrition Program at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. She says most people know they should be active.

Church: "But you have to look at the built environment around people - if the environment is not conducive to walking or riding a bike to places that people normally go - even if it's just a block away - a lot of people get in their cars because maybe there's no sidewalks or they have to cross busy streets."

Church says a lot of cities in Kansas are designed for cars and not for walkers. She also says many people report that they don't have enough time in the day to exercise. Federal officials say the new guidelines are achievable because unlike previous ones, they don't outline any daily requirements. Instead they say adults can achieve health benefits from exercising two and a half hours per week, regardless of how that time is broken down.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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