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MOST SAY THEY EXERCISE, BUT EXPERTS ARE SKEPTICAL

SHARE MOST SAY THEY EXERCISE, BUT EXPERTS ARE SKEPTICAL

Most Utahns say they are currently on an exercise program, and only 4 percent consider themselves to be extremely overweight, according to the latest Deseret News/KSL poll conducted by Dan Jones and Associates.

Yet whether this means Utahns are significantly more healthy than they were a decade ago is anyone's guess."I would say we're more health-conscious; people know what they should be doing, but whether they do it or not is another matter," said J.L. Coon, general manager of Upper Limit Fitness Center.

According to the poll, however, 58 percent of the state's population say they do exercise regularly, with the bulk of them exercising one to five times a week. Twelve percent of Utahns say they never exercise.

Pat Eisenman, a professor in the University of Utah's exercise science department, said she thought the 58 percent figure of people exercising is high.

Nationally, she said, 33 percent of the population is physically active. She believes some of the people polled are probably involved in light activities that wouldn't necessarily constitute major exercise.

The "old fitness prescription" outlines a regime of 20 minutes of exercise that increases the heart rate three to five times a week, she said. But people can expend calories in many other ways that may not be organized exercise - such as walking around the office and climbing stairs in a parking terrace.

"It's good getting people to just move," she said.

Indeed, Coon said the exercise increases he's seen in the last few years have been non-exercisers easing into a program for the first time.

And exercise, along with less smoking and consumption of fats, has helped to reduce cardiovascular problems and improve overall health since the 1970s, although the full potential has not been reached, Eisenman said.

"I think we are making some progress, but we've still got a long way to go," she said.

The poll also showed that most Utahns (52 percent) say they are of average weight, 35 percent say they are slightly overweight, and 9 percent say they are underweight. Eisenman said these figures match up with national studies.

While the poll doesn't break those percentages down by gender, Eisenman believes more women than men would be apt to consider themselves overweight.

"I think as a whole, women are battered a lot by the media and outside influences to have thin bodies, more so than fit bodies," she said.

"There's usually 50 to 60 percent of people dieting at any one time, which shows people are unhappy (with their weight) and will do anything to change it."

The poll also shows that when it comes to physical appearance, 43 percent of Utahns consider themselves to be just as attractive as anyone else. Thirty-four percent say they are more attractive, and 17 percent say they are less attractive than an average person.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Deseret News/KSL poll

Are you currently on an excercise program?

YES 58%

NO 42%

How many times a week do you exercise?

NEVER 12%

SELDOM 10%

LESS THAN ONCE A WEEK 2%

1-3 TIMES A WEEK 33%

4-5 TIMES A WEEK 23%

6-7 TIMES A WEEK 17%

MORE THAN 7 TIMES PER WEEK 2%

Do you consider yourself more or less physically attractive than the average person?

MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE 8%

SOMEWHAT MORE ATTRACTIVE 26%

ABOUT AVERAGE 43%

SOMEWHAT LESS ATTRACTIVE 14%

MUCH LESS ATTRACTIVE 3%

DON'T KNOW 6%

Would you consider yourself to be overweight?

EXTREMELY OVERWEIGHT 4%

SLIGHTLY OVERWEIGHT 35%

ABOUT AVERAGE 52%

SLIGHTLY UNDERWEIGHT 8%

EXTREMELY UNDERWEIGHT 1%

Poll conducted July 26-28, 1994. Margin of error +/-4% on interviews of 614 adult registered voters. Conducted by Dan Jones & Associates. Copyright 1994 Deseret News. Dan Jones & Associates, an independent organization founded in 1980, polls for the Deseret News and KSL. Its clients include other organizations and some political candidates.