Healthy and Active

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2011): 49.5%
Current (2017): 49.4%

Theme Distinctive


Percent of adults meeting recommended exercise standard

Why is it Important?

Exercise is critical for health and well-being. Regular physical activity reduces the likelihood of many chronic diseases and increases quality of life. There are many factors that influence how often people exercise, including safety of the community, the availability of trails, sidewalks, and bicycle facilities, and the existence of routes to school, work, or other important destinations,1 In 2008, the first national guidelines on physical activity were released. The aerobic physical activity standard calls for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. This indicator measures the percent of adults that meet the aerobic physical activity guidelines.

How are we Doing?

The percent of adults meeting the recommended exercise standard in the St. Louis region is about the same in 2017 as it was in 2011. The proportion of residents meeting the standard has been between 49 and 51 percent since 2011. Survey questions were updated in 2011 to reflect the new physical activity guidelines and therefore earlier data is not directly comparable.2

In 2017, the St. Louis MSA ranked 25th among the peer regions for which data is available. The region’s rate is about the same as it is for the country as a whole. There is not a substantial difference among the peer regions. In 20 regions, over half of the population meets the recommended amount of activity. Although the rate has not changed much, the region’s ranking among the peers improved from 36th (out of 46) in 2011. The region’s ranking among the 50 peers improved from 36th in 2011. Between the two survey years – 2011 and 2017 – 28 regions saw a decline in the percentage of adults meeting the standard. 

Healthy and Active Exercise

Geographic Level

St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). View map.


1Harvard School of Public Health. “Environmental Barriers to Activity” Accessed on 29 July 2014 at

2The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey questions changed slightly in 2011. Prior to this year, the CDC’s physical activity survey asked respondents to classify their aerobic physical activity as moderate or vigorous, report how frequently and how long they usually participated in those activities, and then calculated the percent that had completed 30+ minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days per week, or vigorous physical activity for 20+ minutes three or more days per week. In 2011, the physical activity survey asked respondents what types of physical activities they did in the past month, and then the CDC determined whether the activities were moderate or vigorous. And, in accordance with the standard released in 2008, the CDC calculated the percent that completed 150 minutes or more of aerobic physical activity per week, or the equivalent time of vigorous activity. There is no method for adjusting the data to make it consistent. Therefore, the data is provided as reported by CDC, based on the different definitions. 

Data Sources

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention