Abstract / Description: 

Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, and increasing physical activity can help prevent and manage disease. Walking is an easy way for most adults to be more active and may help people at risk for CVD avoid inactivity, increase their physical activity levels, and improve their cardiovascular health. To guide efforts that promote walking for CVD prevention and management, we estimated the prevalence of walking among US adults by CVD risk status.

Methods: Nationally representative data on walking from participants (N = 29,742) in the 2015 National Health Interview Survey Cancer Control Supplement were analyzed. We estimated prevalence of walking (ie, any, transportation, and leisure) overall and by CVD status. We defined CVD status as either not having CVD and not at risk for CVD; being at risk for CVD (overweight or having obesity plus 1 or more additional risk factors); or having CVD. We defined additional risk factors as diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension. Odds ratios were estimated by using logistic regression models adjusted for respondent characteristics.Results: Prevalence of any walking decreased with increasing CVD risk (no CVD/not at risk, 66.6%; at risk: overweight or has obesity with 1 risk factor, 63.0%; with 2 risk factors, 59.5%; with 3 risk factors, 53.6%; has CVD, 50.2%). After adjusting for respondent characteristics, the odds of any walking and leisure walking decreased with increasing CVD risk. However, CVD risk was not associated with walking for transportation.

Conclusions: Promoting walking may be a way to help adults avoid inactivity and encourage an active lifestyle for CVD prevention and management.

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John D. Omura, MD; Emily N. Ussery, PhD; Fleetwood Loustalot, PhD; Janet E. Fulton, PhD; Susan A. Carlson, PhD