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Health Indicator Report of Physical Activity - Adult Prevalence

Physical activity among adults has numerous benefits, including: reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers; improving physical fitness, bone health, and mental health; preventing high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, prediabetes and diabetes; maintaining a healthy weight, and increasing mobility; brain health benefits, including improved cognitive function, reduced anxiety and depression risk, and improved sleep and quality of life. Among older adults, physical activity is crucial in preventing falls (1). Only half of adults in the U.S. meet physical activity recommendations (1). Research demonstrates any amount of physical activity is beneficial; however, for substantial health benefits, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition recommends adults do 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75 to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity (2). Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits (2).

Adults With Recommended Physical Activity by County, New Mexico, 2013, 2015, 2017


The physical activity questions are administered only in odd years.   U.S. value is the median of all U.S. states and D.C. for 2013. Starting in 2011, the definition for the U.S. values changed to "150 minutes or more of aerobic physical activity per week." Prior to that, the U.S. definition was "30 minutes of moderate physical activity five 5+ days per week, or vigorous physical activity for 20+ minutes three or more days per week." **Data were not available for some counties due to insufficient numbers of people (fewer than 50) from those counties who were surveyed in the BRFSS. The county-level BRFSS data used for this indicator report were weighted to be representative of the New Mexico Health Region populations. Had the data been weighted to be representative of each county population, the results would likely have been different.

Data Sources

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, together with New Mexico Department of Health, Injury and Behavioral Epidemiology Bureau.
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BRFSS Prevalence and Trends Data, [].

Data Interpretation Issues

Data for this indicator report are from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing survey of adults regarding their health-related behaviors, health conditions, and preventive services. Data are collected in all 50 states, D.C., and U.S. territories. Responses have been weighted to reflect the New Mexico adult population by age, sex, ethnicity, geographic region, marital status, education level, home ownership and type of phone ownership. The survey is conducted using scientific telephone survey methods for landline and cellular phones (with cellular since 2011). The landline phone portion of the survey excludes adults living in group quarters such as college dormitories, nursing homes, military barracks, and prisons. The cellular phone portion of the survey includes adult students living in college dormitories but excludes other group quarters. Beginning with 2011, the BRFSS updated its surveillance methods by adding in calls to cell phones and changing its weighting methods. These changes improve BRFSS' ability to take into account the increasing proportion of U.S. adults using only cellular telephones as well as to adjust survey data to improve the representativeness of the estimates generated from the survey. Results have been adjusted for the probability of selection of the respondent, and have been weighted to the adult population by age, gender, phone type, detailed race/ethnicity, renter/owner, education, marital status, and geographic area. Lastly and importantly, these changes mean that the data from years prior to 2011 are not directly comparable to data from 2011 and beyond. Please see the [ BRFSS Method Change Factsheet]. The "missing" and "don't know" responses are removed before calculating a percentage.


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


Number of adults meeting physical activity recommendations from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


Number of adults from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Healthy People Objective: PA-2.1, 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

New Mexico Community Health Status Indicator (CHSI)

How Are We Doing?

Since 2001, the percentage of adults in New Mexico who meet physical activity recommendations has remained static, which is similar to the trend in the US.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Compared to the US, a higher percentage of New Mexico adults report meeting physical activity recommendations.

Evidence-based Practices

Communities can promote and support physical activity by creating, modifying, and maintaining safe facilities for residents to exercise outdoors or walk or bike for transportation. Below are some strategies communities may use to support physical activity (3): - improve access to outdoor recreational facilities - enhance infrastructure supporting bicycling - enhance infrastructure supporting walking - improve access to public transportation - enhance personal safety in areas where persons are or could be physically active - enhance traffic safety in areas where persons are or could be physically active

Available Services

Albuquerque Prescription Trails - EnhanceFitness -
Page Content Updated On 12/19/2018, Published on 12/28/2018
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sat, 29 January 2022 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Fri, 28 Dec 2018 12:16:18 MST