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Health Indicator Report of Physical Activity-Adult Prevalence

Maintenance of a physically active lifestyle is recognized in public health as one of the essential features of a healthy life. While it has long been known that physical activity can prevent heart disease, newer studies suggest that, on average, physically active persons outlive those who are inactive.


Physical activity questions are generally asked in odd years only. Starting in 2011, BRFSS protocol requires that the NJBRFS incorporate a fixed quota of interviews from cell phone respondents along with a new weighting methodology called iterative proportional fitting or "raking". The new weighting methodology incorporates additional demographic information (such as education, race, and marital status) in the weighting process. These methodological changes were implemented to account for the underrepresentation of certain demographic groups in the land line sample (which resulted in part from the increasing number of U.S. households without land line phones). Comparisons between 2011 and prior years should therefore be made with caution. (More details about these changes can be found at All prevalence estimates are age-adjusted to U.S. 2000 population.

Data Source

Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, Center for Health Statistics, New Jersey Department of Health, []

Data Interpretation Issues

Data from the New Jersey Risk Factor Survey are intended to represent non-institutionalized adults in households with telephones. Data are collected using a random sample of all possible telephone numbers. Prior to analysis, data are weighted to represent the population distribution of adults by age, sex, and "race"/ethnicity. As with all surveys, however, some residual bias may result from non-response (e.g., refusal to participate in the survey or to answer specific questions) and measurement error (e.g., social desirability or recall). Attempts are made to minimize such error by use of a strict calling protocol (up to 15 calls are made to reach each household), good questionnaire design, standardization of interviewer behavior, interviewer training, and frequent, on-site interviewer monitoring and supervision. The wording for this question changed in 2011. As such, trend data should be interpreted with caution. Prior to 2011, the definition of this indicator was "Percentage of adults aged 18 years and older who report light or moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes five or more times per week or who report vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes three or more times per week."


Among adults, the proportion who engage in aerobic physical activity of at least moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes/week, or 75 minutes/week of vigorous intensity, or an equivalent combination.


Number of adults aged 18 years and older who meet aerobic physical activity recommendations of getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate-vigorous intensity activity.


Number of surveyed adults aged 18 years and older (excludes unknowns or refusals ).

Healthy People Objective: Increase the proportion of adults who engage in aerobic physical activity of at least moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes/week, or 75 minutes/week of vigorous intensity, or an equivalent combination

U.S. Target: 47.9 percent

Other Objectives

Health New Jersey 2020 Objective NF-3a: Increase the proportion of of adults who meet current Federal physical activity guidelines for moderate or vigorous physical activity

How Are We Doing?

The percentage of people reporting that they get the recommended level of physical activity in 2015 was about 50%. The 2015 data shows that fewer (41%) Hispanics reported meeting the recommendation compared to Whites (56%), Blacks (47%) and Asians (47%).

What Is Being Done?

The New Jersey Department of Health coordinates efforts to work with communities to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions that address behaviors related to increasing physical activity, breastfeeding initiation and duration, and the consumption of fruits and vegetables, and to decreasing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and high-energy-dense foods, and to decrease television viewing.

Health Program Information

NJDOH Office of Nutrition and Fitness: More information on the national NPAO Program may be found online at
Page Content Updated On 10/27/2016, Published on 08/14/2017
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Thu, 24 August 2017 6:39:25 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 16 Aug 2017 05:00:44 EDT