Introduction: Increasing physical activity among adults at risk for or with cardiovascular disease (CVD) can help prevent and manage disease. Walking may present an opportunity for promoting physical activity among this high risk group. We hypothesized that in US adults the prevalence of self-reported walking would decrease with increasing CVD risk.
Methods: Nationally representative data from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey Cancer Control Supplement (N=28,780) were analyzed. Analyses were repeated after excluding those needing assistance with walking (n=2,192). Walking was defined as engaging in at least one 10-minute bout of transportation or leisure walking in the past seven days. Prevalence estimates of walking (any, transportation, and leisure) are reported overall and by presence of risk factors (overweight or obesity and ≥1 of diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension) or CVD (myocardial infarction or stroke). Orthogonal polynomial contrasts were used to identify significant trends.
Results: Overall, 64.9% (standard error, SE=0.5) of adults reported any walking (TABLE). This prevalence was highest among those with no CVD or risk factors (67.1%, SE=0.5), decreased with increasing number of risk factors (1 risk factor: 64.0%, SE=1.0; 2 risk factors: 60.3%, SE=1.3; 3 risk factors: 54.8%, SE=2.0), and the lowest was among those with CVD (51.9%, SE=1.7). Similar trends were observed for leisure and transportation walking. To ensure differences in prevalence of walking by risk factor or disease status was not due to functional limitations, repeated analyses that excluded those needing assistance with walking observed similar patterns.
Conclusions: Prevalence of any and leisure walking decreased as the presence of CVD risk factors increased and was lowest among those with disease. Promoting walking, especially among adults at higher risk, may present an important opportunity for encouraging an active lifestyle for CVD prevention and management.