One of the easiest health risk factors to change is people’s level of physical activity.

For now, at least, people can’t do anything much about their ancestry. They can’t do much about their place of birth, what they ate as infants, or how the motorists around them will drive.

They might have some control over their diet, but just how much is still open to debate. For some, the call of the ice cream may be more compelling than for others.

They do have control over how much they exercise. Doing pushups is free. Prisoners in cells who have nothing left but their own bodies do jumping jacks.

But people do need time exercise and some minimum level of motivation. The example the people around them are setting, the weather and the types of recreational facilities available around them all may play a role in activity levels.

Whether people exercise may affect how long they will live. It can certainly affect how much of their life they will be healthy, how many years they will have the physical ability to work, and how many years they will have the physical ability to handle the activities of daily living.

There are even some research studies out there that focus on efforts to see whether exercise might affect the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

Exercise could help reduce the risk your clients and prospects will need their health insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, long-term care insurance benefits, life insurance benefits and even, possibly, car insurance benefits. Motorists who are in better shape could be better drivers.

Related: 9 factors that affect longevity

To gauge how active consumers in various U.S. markets are, we looked at Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System data, for 2012, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We pulled the percentage of survey participants in each market included who told survey workers that they had not engaged in physical activities or exercises in the previous month.

For the 10 markets with the highest percentage of residents who said they had not exercised, we also retrieved obesity rate figures.

For a look at those 10 markets, and a complete set of data for all of the markets included in the 2012 survey results, read on:

Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee

(Photo: iStock)

10. Knoxville, Tennessee Metropolitan Statistical Area

Share of survey participants who said they had not exercised in past month: 29.6%.

Share of survey participants who were obese: 29.9%.

 

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 Charleston, West Virginia

(Photo: iStock) 

9. Charleston, West Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area

Share of survey participants who said they had not exercised in past month: 29.6%.

Share of survey participants who were obese: 31.5%.

 

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Fountain at Morgan Square in Spartanburg, South Carolina

The Fountain at Morgan Square in Spartanburg, South Carolina. (Photo: iStock)

8. Spartanburg, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area

Share of survey participants who said they had not exercised in past month: 30.3%.

Share of survey participants who were obese: 32.8%.

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Youngstown

(Photo: iStock)

7. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area
 

Share of survey participants who said they had not exercised in past month: 31.3%.

Share of survey participants who were obese: 32.3%.

 

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El Paso, Texas, at night

(Photo: iStock)

6. El Paso, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area

Share of survey participants who said they had not exercised in past month: 32.0%.

Share of survey participants who were obese: 29.4%.

 

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Construction of the Yakima-Tieton Dam, around 1905

Construction of the Yakima-Tieton Dam, around 1905. (Photo: Bureau of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Engineering and Research Center)

5. Yakima, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area

Share of survey participants who said they had not exercised in past month: 32.0%.

Share of survey participants who were obese: 31.4%.

 

Related: Why pay employees to exercise when you can threaten them?

A music festival in Bristol, Tennesse

A music festival in Bristol, Tennesse. (Photo: iStock)

4. Kingsport-Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area

Share of survey participants who said they had not exercised in past month: 33.0%

Share of survey participants who were obese: 32.9%

 

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Cabell County Courthouse in Huntington, West Virginia

Cabell County Courthouse in Huntington, West Virginia. (Photo: iStock)

3. Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area

Share of survey participants who said they had not exercised in past month: 34.2%.

Share of survey participants who were obese: 35.1%.

 

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 Chase Bank in McAllen, Texas

Chase Bank in McAllen, Texas. (Photo: iStock)

2. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area

Share of survey participants who said they had not exercised in past month: 36.6%.

Share of survey participants who were obese: 44.5%.

 

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 Lumberton, North Carolina

Lumberton, North Carolina. (Photo: iStock)

1. Lumberton, North Carolina Micropolitan Statistical Area

Share of survey participants who said they had not exercised in past month:  39%.

Share of survey participants who were obese:  38.75%.

 

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National Park Service slug

A slug. (Photo: National Park Service)

The complete 2012 BRFSS no-exericse data set

 

 

Percentage of residents who said they had not exercised in the past month,

(in %)

Lumberton, North Carolina Micropolitan Statistical Area 39.0
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area 36.6
Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area 34.2
Kingsport-Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area 33.0
Yakima, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area 32.0
El Paso, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area 32.0
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area 31.3
Spartanburg, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 30.3
Charleston, West Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area 29.6
Knoxville, Tennessee Metropolitan Statistical Area 29.6
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area 29.5
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, Maryland-West Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area 29.2
Vineland-Bridgeton, New Jersey Metropolitan Statistical Area 29.1
Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 29.1
Berlin, New Hampshire-Vermont Micropolitan Statistical Area 28.9
Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas Metropolitan Division 28.8
Winston-Salem, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 28.4
Jackson, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area 28.2
Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, Michigan Metropolitan Division 28.2
Memphis, Tennessee-Mississippi-Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area 28.1
Sayre, Pennsylvania Micropolitan Statistical Area 27.4
Greensboro-High Point, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 27.3
Baton Rouge, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 27.2
Montgomery, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area 27.1
Camden, New Jersey Metropolitan Division 27.1
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area 27.0
Laconia, New Hampshire Micropolitan Statistical Area 27.0
Great Falls, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.9
Tulsa, OK Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.8
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.8
Norfolk, Nebraska Micropolitan Statistical Area 26.7
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.6
Dover, Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.4
Mobile, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.4
Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky-Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.3
Chattanooga, Tennessee-Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.2
Huntsville, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.2
Las Cruces, New Mexico Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.2
New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.2
Lafayette, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.0
Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area 26.0
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Division 25.9
Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.9
Tuscaloosa, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.9
New York-Jersey City-White Plains, New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Division 25.9
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.8
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.7
Toledo, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.5
Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.5
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.3
San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.3
Ocean City, New Jersey Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.3
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas-Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.2
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.0
Sioux City, Iowa-Nebraska-South Dakota Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.0
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas Metropolitan Division 24.9
Dayton, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.9
Newark, New Jersey-Pennsylvania Metropolitan Division 24.9
Canton-Massillon, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.6
Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.6
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.5
St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.4
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.4
Bangor, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.4
Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia-South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.2
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.1
Cincinnati, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.1
New Haven-Milford, Connecticut Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.1
Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area 24.0
Fayetteville, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 23.9
Greeley, Colorado Metropolitan Statistical Area 23.8
Topeka, Kansas Metropolitan Statistical Area 23.7
Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area 23.7
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MarylaNorth Dakota Metropolitan Statistical Area 23.4
Columbia, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 23.3
Grand Island, Nebraska Metropolitan Statistical Area 23.3
Wichita, Kansas Metropolitan Statistical Area 23.2
Farmington, New Mexico Metropolitan Statistical Area 23.2
Augusta-Waterville, Maine Micropolitan Statistical Area 23.1
Providence-Warwick, Rhode Island-Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area 23.0
Columbus, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area 22.8
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona Metropolitan Statistical Area 22.7
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 22.5
North Platte, Nebraska Micropolitan Statistical Area 22.5
Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 22.5
Sioux Falls, South Dakota Metropolitan Statistical Area 22.5
Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area 22.4
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area 22.3
Akron, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area 22.3
Norwich-New London, Connecticut Metropolitan Statistical Area 22.2
Scottsbluff, Nebraska Micropolitan Statistical Area 22.2
Wilmington, Delaware-Maryland-New Jersey Metropolitan Division 22.0
Bismarck, North Dakota Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.9
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.9
Trenton, New Jersey Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.9
Fort Wayne, Indiana Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.9
Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.7
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.6
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California Metropolitan Division 21.6
Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska-Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.5
Richmond, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.5
Nassau County-Suffolk County, New York Metropolitan Division 21.4
Torrington, Connecticut Micropolitan Statistical Area 21.4
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, North Carolina-South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.4
Billings, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.4
Asheville, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.3
Kennewick-Richland, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.3
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.2
Cheyenne, Wyoming Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.2
Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.2
Rapid City, South Dakota Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.1
Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.1
Rutland, Vermont Micropolitan Statistical Area 21.1
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pennsylvania-New Jersey Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.0
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.0
Tucson, Arizona Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.0
Charleston-North Charleston, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 21.0
Idaho Falls, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area 20.9
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area 20.9
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California Metropolitan Statistical Area 20.8
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Virginia-North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 20.7
Hilo, Hawaii Micropolitan Statistical Area 20.5
Spokane-Spokane Valley, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area 20.5
Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas Metropolitan Statistical Area 20.5
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Michigan Metropolitan Division 20.5
Worcester, Massachusetts-Connecticut Metropolitan Statistical Area 20.3
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area 20.1
Boston, Massachusetts Metropolitan Division 19.9
Austin-Round Rock, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area 19.8
Raleigh, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 19.8
Casper, Wyoming Metropolitan Statistical Area 19.5
Rockingham County-Strafford County, New Hampshire Metropolitan Division 19.3
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia-West Virginia Metropolitan Division 19.2
Bremerton-Silverdale, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area 19.2
Claremont-Lebanon, New Hampshire-Vermont Micropolitan Statistical Area 19.1
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area 19.0
Fairbanks, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.9
Albuquerque, New Mexico Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.9
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.9
Olympia-Tumwater, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.9
Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Massachusetts Metropolitan Division 18.8
Urban Honolulu, Hawaii Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.6
Fargo, North Dakota-Minnesota Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.5
Jacksonville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.5
Boise City, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.5
Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Division 18.3
Bellingham, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.2
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area 17.9
Tacoma-Lakewood, Washington Metropolitan Division 17.8
Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MarylaNorth Dakota Metropolitan Division 17.7
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area 17.7
Salt Lake City, Utah Metropolitan Statistical Area 17.7
Reno, Nevada Metropolitan Statistical Area 17.5
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, California Metropolitan Division 17.5
Concord, New Hampshire Micropolitan Statistical Area 17.3
Barnstable Town, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area 17.3
San Diego-Carlsbad, California Metropolitan Statistical Area 17.1
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado Metropolitan Statistical Area 17.1
Keene, New Hampshire Micropolitan Statistical Area 17.1
Missoula, Montana Metropolitan Statistical Area 16.8
Colorado Springs, Colorado Metropolitan Statistical Area 16.6
Anchorage, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area 16.6
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area 16.6
Portland-South Portland, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area 16.5
Ogden-Clearfield, Utah Metropolitan Statistical Area 16.5
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California Metropolitan Statistical Area 16.4
Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, California Metropolitan Division 16.2
Duluth, Minnesota-Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area 15.9
Lincoln, Nebraska Metropolitan Statistical Area 15.9
Kalispell, Montana Micropolitan Statistical Area 15.8
Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, California Metropolitan Division 15.7
Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, California Metropolitan Statistical Area 15.6
Santa Fe, New Mexico Metropolitan Statistical Area 15.6
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington Metropolitan Division 15.5
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area 15.5
Kapaa, Hawaii Micropolitan Statistical Area 14.9
Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont Metropolitan Statistical Area 14.9
Provo-Orem, Utah Metropolitan Statistical Area 14.5
Eugene, Oregon Metropolitan Statistical Area 14.4
Logan, Utah-Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area 13.3
Fort Collins, Colorado Metropolitan Statistical Area 12.4
Barre, Vermont Micropolitan Statistical Area 12.3
Heber, Utah Micropolitan Statistical Area 11.0
Boulder, Colorado Metropolitan Statistical Area 9.2
Source: CDC/Behavioral Risk Factors: Selected Metropolitan Area Risk Trends (SMART) MMSA Prevalence Data (2011-2012)

  

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