Leavitt sounds off on chronic disease prevention in editorial

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Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt has released an opinion piece touting the benefits of exercise when it comes to reducing rates of chronic diseases.

"Americans just aren't moving enough, and it's killing them," writes Leavitt in the Lexington-Herald Reader. He goes on to say that more than 50% of American adults do not get enough physical activity, and up to 25% of adults are not active during their leisure time. Adults should get an average of two and-a-half hours of moderate exercise, which could include such day-to-day activities as walking or raking the leaves, suggests Leavitt. Even these moderate activities can prevent many of the burdens from chronic diseases, he says.

Chronic diseases cause seven out of 10 deaths in the U.S., and afflict more than 100 million Americans, says Leavitt. Some reports suggest that up to 90% of seniors have at least one chronic disease, and as many as 77% have two or more. Additionally, up to 75% of all healthcare spending in the U.S. goes toward treating these diseases.