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CDC reports increase in walking for exercise

Tuesday, August 7, 2012   (0 Comments)
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CDC Announcement, Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today that 62% of adults say they walked at least once for 10 minutes or more in the previous week in 2010, compared to 56% in 2005. For the Vital Signs report, researchers analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey . The data also revealed that less than half (48%) of all adults get enough physical activity to improve their health.

For substantial health benefits, the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 2 ½ hours per week of moderate aerobic physical activity, such as brisk walking. This activity should be done for at least 10 minutes at a time.

The report also shows that increases in walking were seen in nearly all groups surveyed. Walkers were defined as those who walked for at least one session of 10 minutes or more for transportation, fun or exercise.

  • In the West, roughly 68%of people walk, more than any other region in the country.
  • People living in the South had the largest increase in the percentage of people who walk, up by nearly 8 percentage points from about 49% in 2005 to 57% in 2010.
  • More adults with arthritis or hypertension are walking, but there was no increase in walking among adults with type 2 diabetes.

More than 145 million adults are now getting some of their physical activity by walking. People who are physically active live longer and are at lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers. People need safe and convenient places to walk; people walk more where they feel protected from traffic and safe from crime. Communities can be designed or improved to make it easier for people to walk to the places they need and want to go.

The report also highlights ways to provide better spaces and more places for walking, including:

  • State and local governments can consider joint use agreements to let community residents use local school tracks or gyms after classes have finished.
  • Employers can create or identify walking paths around or near the work place and promote them with signs and route maps.
  • Citizens can participate in local planning efforts that identify best sites for walking paths and priorities for new sidewalks.

CDC Vital Signs provides timely, high impact, and data-driven prevention information, linking science, policy, and communications to create a call-to-action.  The full report and past issues of Vital Signs are available at

For more information about Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and ways to get active, visit ; the National Institute on Aging’s Go4Life campaign has information on walking for health, success stories, and other fitness resources for older people. For more information on CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, visit or contact Jennifer Greaser at

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