CDC: Increase in Prevalence of Walking in the United States

Walkers are significantly more likely to meet the aerobic physical activity guideline than non-walkers

THURSDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of walking (defined as walking for leisure or transportation in at least one bout of 10 minutes or more in the last week) increased in the United States from 2005 to 2010, with an increased likelihood of meeting the aerobic physical activity guideline noted for walkers, according to a study published in the Aug. 7 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity & Mortality Weekly.

To examine changes in the prevalence of walking, David Berrigan, Ph.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from the 2005 and 2010 National Health Interview Surveys. The correlation between walking and meeting the aerobic physical activity guideline was examined.

The researchers noted a significant increase in the prevalence of walking, from 55.7 percent in 2005 to 62.0 percent in 2010. In most of the demographic and health characteristic categories examined, walking prevalence was significantly higher. Compared with non-walkers, among walkers, the adjusted odds ratio of meeting the aerobic physical activity guideline was 2.95 in 2010.

"To sustain increases in the prevalence of walking, communities can implement evidence-based strategies such as creating or enhancing access to places for physical activity, or using design and land use policies and practices that emphasize mixed-use communities and pedestrian-friendly streets," the authors write. "Public health efforts to promote walking as a way to meet physical activity guidelines can help improve the health of U.S. residents."

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