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Socio-Demographic Variations in Walking for Transport and for Recreation or Exercise Among Adult Australians

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Walking is integral to strategies to promote physical activity. We identified socio-demographic variations in walking for transport, and for recreation or exercise.

Methods:

Representative population data (n = 3392) from Australia were collected using computer assisted telephone interviewing, to examine adults’ participation in moderate- or brisk-paced walking for transport and walking for recreation or exercise; walking “sufficient” to meet the current public health guideline (≥ 150 min/wk); and, the contributions of total walking to meeting the guideline for total physical activity.

Results:

Rates of sufficient walking for transport (10% for men, 9% for women) were lower than those for walking for recreation or exercise (14% for both genders). Few socio-demographic differences emerged. Men over age 60 y were significantly less likely (OR = 0.40) to walk for transport; men age 45 to 59 y were more likely (OR = 1.56) to walk for recreation or exercise. Walking contributed more toward meeting the current public health guideline among women (15% to 21%) than among men (6% to 8%).

Conclusions:

There is potential for socially equitable increases in participation, through a focus on both walking for transport and on walking for recreation or exercise; attention to gender differences would be helpful.

Cole is with the Central Public Health Unit Network, Queensland Health, Maroochydore, Australia. Leslie is with the School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University and Department of Human Services, Geelong, Australia. Bauman is with the NSW Centre for Physical Activity and Health, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Donald is with the School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. Owen is with the Cancer Prevention Research Centre, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

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