More Americans Walking, Women In the Lead

Slightly more women are walkers than men, yet walking has become increasingly common among both genders over a recent 15 year period, according to a new government report. 

Because walking is a common and easy way for adults to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine it's important for overall health and cancer prevention. AICR research shows that 30 minutes of daily moderate activity lowers risk of breast, colorectal and endometrial cancers.

This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey looked at responses from almost 79,000 participants of the National Health Interview Survey. The surveys covered three years: 2005, 2010 and 2015. To count as a walker, the person had to walk at least 10-minutes in the past 7 days.

In 2015, 65 percent of women reported walking compared to almost 63 percent of men. Prevelance of walking increased steadily among both women and men over the 15 year period. In 2005, 57 percent of women reported walking and 54 percent of men.

Among women in 2015, the lowest reports of walking was among those aged 65 and older, non-Hispanic blacks, and residents of the South. Among men in 2015, the lowest reports of walkers were among blacks and Hispanics and the most reports of walkers were among men in the West. Caveats to the findings include that these are self-reports and participants may have overestimated the amount they walked.

Incorporating more trails, sidewalks and other design practices that encourage walking along with improving safety of communities are important strategies for promoting walking, the authors conclude.

Source: Ussery EN, Carlson SA, Whitfield GP, Watson KB, Berrigan D, Fulton JE. Walking for Transportation or Leisure Among U.S. Women and Men — National Health Interview Survey, 2005–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:657–662. DOI:

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    Published on July 13, 2017

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