Physical Inactivity

Physical activity has significant health benefits, ranging from increased cardiovascular function to improved mental health and wellness. Estimating physical health is important in gauging the potential for physical health investment in a community.

Improved physical activity rates act as a preventive health measure, reducing negative outcomes such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, and obesity, and improving the overall physical health of a community.

Peer City Perspective

Louisville currently ranks 12th among its peer cities in the percent of adults 20 and older who report no physical activity in their leisure time (28%).

Louisville is in the bottom tier of its peer group according to a natural breaks algorithm. Cities in green are those that outperform their peers. Cities in yellow represent the middle cluster, and those in red lag behind their peers on this indicator.

Trends over Time

Louisville’s physical inactivity rate had been decreasing since 2010 but now appears to be on the rise again. It sits well above its peer rate of 24% and has recently landed in the bottom quartile among its peers. On average, the inactivity rate among Louisville’s peers has stayed relatively constant over the past decade.

Best and Worst Peer Performers

Over the past decade, Louisville has largely moved in tandem with the worst performer of the group, Indianapolis, which has seen its physical inactivity rate increase by nearly 3 percentage points since 2004. (Louisville’s rate has increased by 2 percentage points over the same period.) Nashville has performed the best since 2004, with a 1.5 percentage point decrease in its physical inactivity rate.

Differences by Sex

The physical inactivity rate among men and women increased year over year in the early 2000s until it started decreasing from 2010 onward. It now appears to be on an upward swing again. Since 2004, the physical inactivity rate among women has remained about 5 percentage points above that of men. The gap between men and women is narrower among Louisville’s peer cities.