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Transportation and Leisure Walking Among U.S. Adults: Trends in Reported Prevalence and Volume, National Health Interview Survey 2005–2015

  • Emily N. Ussery
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Emily N. Ussery, PhD, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control andPrevention, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Mailstop F-77, Atlanta GA 30341.
    Affiliations
    Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Susan A. Carlson
    Affiliations
    Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Geoffrey P. Whitfield
    Affiliations
    Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Kathleen B. Watson
    Affiliations
    Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • David Berrigan
    Affiliations
    Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • Janet E. Fulton
    Affiliations
    Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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      Introduction

      Promotion of walking is a promising strategy for increasing physical activity levels in the U.S. The proportion of adults who report walking for either transportation or leisure has increased in recent years, but evidence on trends in walking for specific purposes is limited.

      Methods

      The 2005, 2010, and 2015 National Health Interview Survey assessed self-reported participation in and volume (minutes/week) of walking for transportation and leisure in the past week among adults aged ≥18 years. Linear and quadratic trends in the prevalence and mean volume of walking for each purpose were evaluated using logistic and linear regression. Analyses were performed in 2017.

      Results

      The prevalence of transportation walking increased from 28.4% (2005) to 31.7% (2015) (linear trend: p<0.05). Leisure walking prevalence increased from 42.1% (2005) to 52.1% (2015), but the increased stalled from 2010 to 2015 with only a 2.3 percentage point increase (linear and quadratic trends: p<0.05). Across purposes, the mean walking volume decreased from 2005 to 2015, with no significant changes between 2010 and 2015 (linear and quadratic trends: p<0.05). The proportion of adults who walked for both transportation and leisure in the past week increased steadily (linear trend: p<0.05), and this group reported the greatest total volume of walking.

      Conclusions

      Although the prevalence of self-reported transportation and leisure walking increased during the last decade, the time spent walking decreased. Strategies that encourage walking for multiple purposes may present an opportunity for increasing both participation in walking and the amount of time spent walking.
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