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Special Communication
November 20, 2018

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

Author Affiliations
  • 1Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, US Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland
  • 2National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 3Office of Disease Prevention, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 4National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA. 2018;320(19):2020-2028. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.14854
Abstract

Importance  Approximately 80% of US adults and adolescents are insufficiently active. Physical activity fosters normal growth and development and can make people feel, function, and sleep better and reduce risk of many chronic diseases.

Objective  To summarize key guidelines in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition (PAG).

Process and Evidence Synthesis  The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee conducted a systematic review of the science supporting physical activity and health. The committee addressed 38 questions and 104 subquestions and graded the evidence based on consistency and quality of the research. Evidence graded as strong or moderate was the basis of the key guidelines. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) based the PAG on the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report.

Recommendations  The PAG provides information and guidance on the types and amounts of physical activity to improve a variety of health outcomes for multiple population groups. Preschool-aged children (3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Children and adolescents aged 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. Adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. They should also do muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week. Older adults should do multicomponent physical activity that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Pregnant and postpartum women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities, who are able, should follow the key guidelines for adults and do both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Recommendations emphasize that moving more and sitting less will benefit nearly everyone. Individuals performing the least physical activity benefit most by even modest increases in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Additional benefits occur with more physical activity. Both aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity are beneficial.

Conclusions and Relevance  The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition, provides information and guidance on the types and amounts of physical activity that provide substantial health benefits. Health professionals and policy makers should facilitate awareness of the guidelines and promote the health benefits of physical activity and support efforts to implement programs, practices, and policies to facilitate increased physical activity and to improve the health of the US population.

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