The latest government figures offer more proof that many people are leading unhealthy lifestyles. The majority of U.S. adults are overweight and nearly one in five is a daily smoker, according to the government's national health survey.

'It's almost as if the elements are conspiring against us to lead unhealthy lifestyles,' said Dan Blumenthal, chairman of community health and preventive medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine. 'We are faced with a constant barrage of advertising on television about fast food. We live in a world where we are encouraged to drive more and walk less and spend more time in front of our televisions.'

The data, for the years 1999 to 2001, examine the health behavior of 96,000 adults at least 18 years old and are broken down by gender, race, education and income. They are contained in a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the National Center for Health Statistics outside Washington.

The study data say adults with higher levels of education and income generally have more favorable health behavior. The data indicated 39% of adults don't engage in any physical activity during their leisure time. 'This trend has been happening in the past decade and it looks like this still continues,' Frank Hu, an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health told Associated Press. 'It strikes me that physical inactivity and obesity continue to be the most important public-health challenges in this country.'