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Less Than One-Quarter of California Adults Walk Regularly

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Publication Date: August 2006

Publisher(s): UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Author(s): Allison L. Diamant; Susan H. Babey; Theresa A. Hastert; E. Richard Brown

Funder(s): California Endowment

Funder(s): California Endowment

Topic: Health (Health promotion)
Health (Diseases and disorders)

Keywords: physical activity; California; exercise

Type: Brief

Coverage: California


Less than one-fourth of California adults -- 5.5 million -- walk on a regular basis, while significantly more than that -- 6.8 million -- do not walk at all, according to this policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research that analyzes the differences in the walking habits of Californians.

San Francisco (at 38 percent) leads other counties in the percentage of residents who walk regularly, while San Joaquin and San Bernardino have the highest percentage of residents (34 percent) who don't walk at all. American Indian/Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence of regular walking (27 percent), compared to Latinos (23 percent), Whites (21 percent) and African Americans (19 percent). The differences among racial/ethnic groups can be partially explained by differences in the amount of time spent walking for transportation and for leisure. Perceived neighborhood safety and availability of parks are also associated with higher rates of regular walking.

For the purposes of the brief, regular walking is defined as walking on at least five separate occasions for a combined total of at least 150 minutes in the previous seven days. This is based on the recommendation that adults engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five or more days per week. Based on data from the 2003 California Health Interview Survey, this new policy brief offers valuable information to those interested in creating new policies and/or conditions to promote healthier lifestyles.