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ACSM In The News

ACSM is fortunate to be the go-to source on sports medicine and exercise science for several national and international media outlets. You can find some of our most recent coverage below, or you can view archived articles.  

Military Veterans More Active than General Public

by User Not Found | Aug 01, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS – Although fewer than half of military veterans achieve recommended amounts of physical activity, they are still more active than their counterparts who did not serve in the military, according to a study published by the American College of Sports Medicine  (ACSM).

Veterans — by definition in the study — are individuals who have served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, either in the regular military, National Guard or military reserve unit, and were currently retired or discharged from their service.  More than 34,000 were surveyed to gauge their physical activity levels and other health factors, including smoking and prevalence of chronic disease, and results were compared to other adults with no military service record.

Although only 46 percent of veterans surveyed were classified as meeting physical activity recommendations – at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (brisk walking, bicycling) five or more days a week or 20 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (jogging, running) at least three days a week – that percentage still eclipsed levels of physical activity reported by other adults (42 percent). These estimates were obtained after accounting for differences in age and gender between veterans and nonveterans.

Moreover, Alyson Littman, Ph.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study, found the greatest discrepancy between veterans and the general public in certain socioeconomic groups. Veterans who also had lower education levels, were minorities, or were older than 70 years of age were significantly more active than nonveterans in the same socioeconomic groups.

“Some of the rigorous physical activity training required for military service appears to be sticking with veterans as they age,” said Littman. “The idea of physical activity being a necessity may just be a mentality that carries on once they are separated from the military. However, it may instead be that being in the military is simply a marker that one is more physically active or fit to start.   As we study this in the future, we will better understand the possible reasons, and how to apply it to other populations.”

The authors note that 1 in 10 U.S. adults is a military veteran, representing a large population who at one time were highly physically active. As veterans and other adults age, particularly those of the Baby Boomer generation, physical activity is an important factor in maintaining health and balance, as well as preventing or treating chronic disease and conditions.

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, which can be achieved in 30-minute segments five days a week.

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

NOTE: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® is the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, and is available from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins at 1-800-638-6423. For a complete copy of the research paper (Vol. 41, No. 5, pages 1006–1013) or to speak with the author or an expert on the topic, contact the Department of Communications and Public Information at 317-637-9200 ext. 127 or 133. Visit ACSM online at www.acsm.org.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.

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