05/16/2012 06:36 pm ET

Exercise Levels, Medical Testing, Education Addressed In CDC Health Report

More than half of U.S. adults aren't getting enough exercise, according to a sweeping new report on the state of America's health from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Older people, ages 75 and older, were the least likely to meet the recommendations, with 70 percent not getting enough regular aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise. Meanwhile, 39 percent of people ages 18 to 24 didn't get enough exercise.

The report, called "Health, United States, 2011," examined a range of health data collected up until 2010. It also showed the influences of education on health and income on health insurance, as well as trends for medical testing in the U.S.

In terms of medical testing, the researchers found that the rate of mammograms among women ages 40 and older has remained about the same (between 67 percent and 70 percent) between 2000 and 2010.

In addition, the data showed that more people are getting colorectal tests, with the percentage of 50- to 75-year-olds getting the test rising from 34 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2010.

Meanwhile, for education, researchers found that the education level of the head of the household is correlated with obesity of the children in the household. For example, 24 percent of boys and 22 percent of girls were obese in homes where the head of household had a high school education only. Meanwhile, 11 percent of boys and 7 percent of girls were obese in homes where the head of household had at least a bachelor's degree.

In addition, rates of smoking in U.S. adults between ages 25 and 64 who had a high school education or less was 31 percent in 2010, compared with 24 percent of adults who had completed at least some college and 9 percent of adults who completed at least a bachelor's degree, according to the study.

Life expectancy is also higher for people with at least a bachelor's degree, compared with people who don't have a high school diploma, the report showed. In 2006, having at least a bachelor's degree at age 25 correlated with an extra 9.3 years of life; for women, it was an extra 8.6 years of life.

"Highly educated people tend to have healthier behaviors, avoid unhealthy ones and have more access to medical care when they need it," report lead author Amy Bernstein, a health services researcher for the National Center for Health Statistics, told USA Today. "All of these factors are associated with better health."

The report also highlighted changes in health insurance coverage in low-income families. In families whose incomes were 200 percent below the poverty level, the number of children who were not covered by health insurance actually decreased between 2000 and 2010, from 22 percent to somewhere between 11 and 13 percent.

The report also highlighted that states in the South and Rocky Mountain regions have the worst doctor-to-patient ratios, while Hawaii, Minnesota and northeastern states had the best ratios, CNN pointed out.

CNN also reported that 2 percent fewer adults smoked in 2010 compared with 2009 -- from 21 percent to 19 percent.

For a look at the full CDC report, click here.