More adults – including people with arthritis – were walking in 2010 than they were five years earlier, according to a report released in 2012 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, in Atlanta.

Specifically, the number of Americans who walk at least 10 minutes at a time at least one day a week increased from 55.7 percent in 2005 to 62 percent in 2010 – a jump of more than 6 percent. And among people with arthritis, the increase was about 4 percent. “So the findings are very robust,” says Joan M. Dorn, PhD, chief of the physical activity and health branch in the CDC’s division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity.

The numbers were released in a “Vital Signs” report on walking prevalence published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The issue looked at 2005 and 2010 National Health Interview Surveys – cross-sectional samples of tens of thousands of Americans who were asked about, among other things, their walking habits (for transportation, fun or exercise).

In addition to a nationwide increase in walking, the report found that walking is most common in the western part of the country. But people in the South, who have traditionally had higher rates of obesity, heart disease and stroke, saw the highest percentage increase in the proportion of people who walk – from about 49 percent in 2005 to about 57 percent in 2010. 

“Perhaps because walking is so accessible, we are seeing increases in all parts of the country, all age groups, all races and ethnicities,” CDC director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, said in a conference call with reporters. “This is good news that’s really across the board.”