Less Than 25 Percent of Americans Walk for More Than 10 Minutes


| 5/14/2013 1:00:00 PM


Tags: walking, active transportation, human-powered transportation, physical activity, stephanie stephens,

Reposted with permission from the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health.

Walking for exerciseMany people in the United States do not walk, bike or engage in other forms of active transportation, missing an important opportunity to improve their cardiovascular health, concludes a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Active transportation refers to any form of human-powered transportation, most commonly walking and cycling, but also using a wheelchair, in-line skating or skateboarding.  The study’s researchers suggest active transportation is “an untapped reservoir of opportunity for physical activity for many U.S. adults.”

“We knew that many studies have demonstrated that physical activity can help prevent a variety of conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and serum lipid abnormalities — all risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease,” said lead study author Gregg Furie, M.D. of the Yale School of Medicine, who specializes in adult primary care medicine. However, the majority of previous studies done on physical activity primarily focused on its use in recreational activity or leisure time activity, he noted.

Using cross-sectional data from the 2007–2008 and 2009–2010 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), Furie and his colleague, Mayur M Desai, Ph.D., associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health were surprised to find that less than one quarter of U.S. adults in a nationally representative sample reported walking or bicycling for transportation for more than 10 minutes continuously in a typical week.

“That’s a pretty low rate,” said Furie, “and we need to increase that level.” People who engaged in active transportation on average had lower body mass indexes and lower odds of hypertension, compared to those who didn’t.




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