Learning a little about laziness

By William H. Baker

Contributing Writer

Maybe you have already mastered the art of laziness. Or like a friend in Tennessee, perhaps you learned all you need to know about the subject while you were in kindergarten.

Within the last few weeks, I read the results of a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The headline on the story was “These are laziest states in America.”

In a long lifetime, I had heard frequently about laziness. As a teacher, I had observed laziness among students. As a parent, I had encouraged children to be active, to lead productive lives.

But here at the beginning of a new year, I was about to learn a little about a whole new approach to the concept of laziness. This just after New Year’s resolutions!

This recent study combined data on physical inactivity levels across the United States. It was based on telephone interviews conducted by both federal and state health officials from 2015 through 2018.

Physical inactivity was determined if the adults interviewed answered “no” to this 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?”

All of the states were included, and having lived my entire life in the South, I looked first to see how the South ranked. Plus, I wanted to share information with our newspaper readers in the tri-state area.

The results show that several Southern states had the highest level of physical activity with 28 percent of the respondents answering “no” to the question above. What about the responses from adults in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia? What about us, our friends, families, and neighbors?

Here’s a listing of seven states that reported the highest levels of inactivity: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. In these states, 30 percent or more of adults were physically inactive.

What about the State of Virginia? She is neither among the laziest nor the least lazy. A color-coded map of the states indicates that the Old Dominion is somewhere in the middle.

So what? You may ask. Should we be interested and/or concerned? The CDC results pretty well answer that for us whether we’re in the laziest category or better.

In summary, the CDC says “Active people generally live longer and at less risk for serious health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers …”

If we need more persuasion to be physically active, here’s what the Department of Health and Human Services offers: “ … regular physical activity helps people to ‘sleep better, feel better, and perform daily tasks more easily’…”

Dr. William H. Baker is a Claiborne County native and former Middlesboro resident. Email: wbaker@limestone.edu