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September 10, 2003

Physical Activity in WomenHow Much Is Good Enough?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School; and Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 2003;290(10):1377-1379. doi:10.1001/jama.290.10.1377

Earlier this year, England's Paula Radcliffe ran a marathon in 2 hours 15 minutes 25 seconds, shattering her own previous record by 113 seconds, and considerably narrowed the gap between male (2:05:38, held by Moroccan-born American Khalid Khannouchi) and female world records.1 It is likely that women the world over cheered her accomplishment. Here in the United States, women's statistics outpace men's in a related area; sadly, this is no reason for celebration. Data from the 2000 National Health Interview Survey indicate that more women than men are physically inactive: 72% of women do not engage in regular leisure-time physical activity compared with 64% of men.2

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