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Physical Inactivity

Adults who are physically inactive, or who do not get the recommended 150 minutes per week of physical activity, are at a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, anxiety, and depression. Factors that can discourage physical activity include lack of safe exercise opportunities, lack of parks and recreational facilities, and poor air quality.1

Findings in Santa Barbara County

Measure

Physical inactivity was based on the following question: “During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises, such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?” Those who responded “No” were considered to be physically inactive.

Table 9. Percentage of Physically Inactive Adults and Healthy People 2020 Target

2016 Santa Barbara
BRFSS
California*Health People 2020
Target
%(95% CI) % (95% CI)
Overall 18.1 (15.7–20.5) 21.7 (20.5–22.9)
Male 19.6 (15.9–23.3) 20.3 (18.6–21.9)
Female 16.6 (13.5–19.6) 23.0 (21.4–24.7)
32.6
Hispanic 22.9 (18.5–27.4) 26.9 (24.6–29.1)
Non-Hispanic White 14.1 (11.3–17.0) 18.9 (17.5–20.3)
Other 20.6 (11.4–29.9 NA

*2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Figure 20. Percentage of Self-Reported Physical Activity and Inactivity in Santa Barbara County, by Sex and Age

Percentage of Self-Reported Physical Activity and Inactivity in Santa Barbara County, by Sex and AgeClick to Enlarge

Figure 21. Percentage of Self-Reported Physical Activity and Inactivity in Santa Barbara County, by Race/Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, and Income

Percentage of Self-Reported Physical Activity and Inactivity in Santa Barbara County, by Race/Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, and IncomeClick to Enlarge

Health Disparities

It is notable that Santa Barbara County residents have half the level of physical inactivity as the HP 2020 target, which means that, in general, they are much more active than most Americans. However, people in the lowest education group have the largest proportion of physically inactive people of any groups, approaching the HP2020 target.

Figure 22. Percentage of Physically Inactive Santa Barbara County Adults, by County Subregion

Percentage of Physically Inactive Santa Barbara County Adults, by County SubregionClick to Enlarge

Factors and Health Outcomes Associated with Physical Inactivity

Figure 23 presents various individual, social, and environmental factors associated with physical inactivity. The figure compares people who are physically inactive with all adults in the Santa Barbara County survey and with Californians as a whole.

Figure 23. Health and Risk Factors of Santa Barbara County Adults Who Are Physically Inactive (18.1%), Compared With All Santa Barbara County Adults and Californians* as a Whole

Figure 23. Health and Risk Factors of Santa Barbara Adults Who Are Physically Inactive (18.1%), Compared With All Santa Barbara Adults and Californians* as a Whole

*Data for California are not available for all indicators

The chart shows that people who are physically inactive are more likely to report that their health is only fair or poor, compared to others in Santa Barbara County. In addition, a higher percentage of such individuals report mental health issues and do not have a high school degree. They are also more likely to be obese. Access to care might be a contributing factor, because more physically inactive people report being uninsured and not having a regular care provider. In addition, physically inactive people report more food and housing insecurity.

Key Opportunities for Population Health Improvement

What Businesses Can Do

  • Encourage employees to become more physically active through multi-part obesity prevention programs.2
  • Provide on-site exercise facilities or subsidized gym memberships.3
  • Give employees incentives to be physically active, coordinated with insurance benefits or health savings accounts.4
  • Have prompts for employees to use on-site stairs, if applicable.5

2 http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/policies/multi-component-obesity-prevention-interventions
3 https://www.thecommunityguide.org/findings/obesity-worksite-programs
4 https://www.thecommunityguide.org/findings/obesity-worksite-programs
5 http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/policies/point-decision-prompts-physical-activity


What Healthcare Providers Can Do

  • Write physical activity prescriptions, including individually-tailored exercise plans6 or through Healthy People Healthy Trails.7
  • Offer counseling and behavioral interventions to improve physical activity choices.8
  • Use culturally sensitive approaches to exercise prescriptions.9

6 http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/policies/prescriptions-physical-activity
7 http://healthypeoplehealthytrails.org
https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/obesity-in-adults-screening-and-management?ds=1&s=obesity
9 http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/policies/culturally-adapted-health-care

What Individuals Can Do

  • Get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week and 2 days of strength training per week.10
  • Take advantage of community fitness programs, such as those at the Channel Islands YMCA, and exercise classes.11
  • Set up a buddy system, make contracts with others to be more physically active, or join a walking group for support.12

10 https://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/
11 http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/policies/community-based-social-support-physical-activity
12 https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/tools-resources/evidence-based-resource/recommendations-to-increase-physical-activity-in-8


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016b). Interventions. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/health-strategies/physical-activity/interventions/programs.html
World Health Organization. (n.d.). Global strategy on diet, physical activity and health. Physical inactivity: A global public health problem. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_inactivity/en/


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