Georgia fares well on ‘couch potato’ measure

Georgia typically lags other states on key health indicators, such as childhood obesity, cardiovascular health and infant mortality.

But on a newly released ‘’couch potato’’ index, based on 2008 data, Georgia beats the national average and several Southeastern states.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 23.2 percent of Georgia adults are physically inactive during their leisure time. That’s better than the national average of 25.4 percent.

Five counties of metro Atlanta have the lowest percentage of physically inactive adults in Georgia, according to the statistics.

Only about 20 percent of the adults in Cherokee, Cobb, Fayette, Fulton and Forsyth counties are inactive during their leisure time.

The counties with the highest rate of inactive adults in Georgia are Decatur, Walker, Ware and Wilcox counties. Each had more than 31 percent of their adults classified as physically inactive.

The report uses statistics from 2008, the latest year the figures are available. To see how your county fared, follow this link.

The states where adults are least likely to be physically active during leisure time: Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Physical activity can help with weight control, reduce the risk of diabetes, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve mental health.

Respondents were classified as active adults if they reported at least 150 minutes per week of moderate‐intensity activity during leisure time, or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous‐intensity activity, or a combination of the two. Activity included walking for exercise, gardening, golfing or running.

The CDC points out that someone who has a physically demanding job – a farmer or a construction worker, for instance – may be inactive during leisure time and still have sufficient physical activity.

But not all the statistics in the physical activity report are favorable to Georgia. The CDC report notes that just 38.6 percent of Georgia youth have parks, community centers and sidewalks in their neighborhood, vs. 50 percent nationally. Georgia also is one of 30 states that does not require or recommend recess in elementary school, the report says.