New Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults

  • All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
  • For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2½ hrs) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1¼ hrs) weekly of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
  • For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or (2½ hrs) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate-and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.
  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.

    Food Groups to Encourage

    Protein-containing foods are important, but most Americans consume adequate amounts, so an increase is not recommended. Adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products may have beneficial health effects. These food groups provide good sources of the nutrients frequently lacking in American diets. When adding these beneficial foods, a decrease of less nutrient-dense foods is recommended to control kilocalorie intake.
       People who consume more fruits and vegetables gave a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers (oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, lung, esophagus, stomach, and colorectal). High-fiber diets from foods as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may reduce the risk of CHD.
       Despite the initiation of the 5-A-Day campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1991 to increase fruit and vegetable consumption to five servings daily, Americans’ fruit and vegetable consumption did not increase between 1988-1994 and 1999-2002. Vegetable consumption decreased with only 11% of consumers meeting the dietary recommendations. Later, the CDC replaced its fruits and vegetables website to reflect the Fruits &Veggies-More Matters campaign.

    Key Recommendations

  • Consume a sufficient amount of fruits’ and vegetables while staying within energy needs. Two cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a reference 2000-kcal intake, with higher or lower amounts depending on the kilocalorie level.
  • Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.
  • Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains.
  • Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.