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Am J Public Health. 1995 May; 85(5): 706–710.
PMCID: PMC1615430

The epidemiology of walking for exercise: implications for promoting activity among sedentary groups.


The relative contribution of walking to overall leisure-time physical activity participation rates was studied among respondents from the 45 states that participated in the 1990 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (n = 81,557). The percentages of low income, unemployed, and obese persons who engaged in leisure-time physical activity (range = 51.1% to 57.7%) were substantially lower than the percentage among the total adult population (70.3%). In contrast, the prevalence of walking for exercise among these sedentary groups (range = 32.5% to 35.9%) was similar to that among the total population (35.6%). Walking appears to be an acceptable, accessible exercise activity, especially among population subgroups with a low prevalence of leisure-time physical activity.

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