More than 1 in 4 adults in Oklahoma are physically inactive: ideas for more movement

Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of inactive adults in the nation, according to a new study.

It is among seven states and one territory, Puerto Rico, where 30% or more adults were physically inactive, according to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other states include West Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

Physical activity has many benefits: it can balance your weight, improve your mood, help you sleep, boost your immune system and reduce your risk of many chronic diseases, said Michelle Lessell of the Oklahoma City Health Department. -County.

But Oklahoma’s high inactivity rates are sadly not surprising, she said.

“It’s been a focus of public health programs like mine for quite some time,” said Lessell, health department supervisor for the county. Healthy Living Program, a community grant which focuses on reducing smoking and obesity by working with businesses, local governments, schools and other community organizations.

Oklahoma is one of seven states and one territory where 30% or more of adults were physically inactive, according to a new CDC analysis.

Oklahoma’s infrastructure is designed for travel by car, Lessell said. Even with efforts to improve walkability, those changes take time, she said.

As part of the Healthy Living Program grant, funded by TSET, Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, the department recently completed a community needs survey that included questions about inactivity. It found that a very small proportion of people walk or cycle to do things like go to the doctor or buy groceries, Lessell said.

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The survey also asked Oklahoma County residents if certain changes could help them lead more active lives.

“Almost everything we suggested the numbers were very supportive saying, ‘Yeah, that would help,'” Lessell said. “The top three were if there were more parks available closer to their home, more walking paths and bike lanes, and more sidewalks connecting to places they would like to go. All of these people had over 80% yes response rates. »

Oklahoma, like many other states, also had higher rates of physical inactivity among certain minority groups compared to overall state rates. For example, about 33.5% of non-Hispanic black adults in Oklahoma were physically inactive and about 35.3% of Hispanic adults were inactive.

“Those disparities are definitely here too,” Lessell said. “What’s causing this is a very complex issue – you can’t just identify it by saying it’s an individual factor like low motivation or willingness to exercise.”

People of color may have less access to safe and convenient places to be physically active, and this may contribute to these disparities in physical activity, According to the CDC.

“The bottom line is that as a county, as a state, and even as a country, we must continue to work to remove all kinds of barriers, to provide universal access to opportunities for physical activity,” Lessell said.

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Incorporating more activity into your life doesn’t have to mean making drastic changes: Start small, Lessell said.

“Somebody starting brand new, I wouldn’t say, go start training for a marathon if you haven’t done Couch to 5K first,” she said.

Finding ways to move more might be like walking in place while watching TV at home, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking breaks from work to get up from your desk and walk around.

Need ideas?

Here are some local resources with ideas on how to get around more:

Shape your future contains information on healthy eating and physical activity, including lots of ideas on how to do physical activity at home. (

Keep moving OKC has a calendar of free fitness events and classes in the Oklahoma City area, including virtual classes. (

For any organization wishing to know more about the Healthy Living Program by OCCHD, call 405-425-4498.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoman Health: Over 25% of adults are physically inactive

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