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Walking most popular physical activity among region's adults

Nov 29, 2017

For the 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS), sponsored by Interact for Health, area adults were asked to name their favorite physical activity. Walking was mentioned most often, by 3 in 10 adults(31 percent).

Explains O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., MPH, President/CEO of Interact for Health, “Being physically active is one of the most important things people can do to improve their health. Walking can be an easy way to increase physical activity, because it does not require any special skills or facilities.”
CHSS asked adults in the region how many days in the past week they walked for at least 10 minutes at a time. About 6 in 10 adults (57 percent)
walked at least 10 minutes at a time every day; however, 1 in 10 adults (8 percent) reported that they did not walk 10 minutes at a time on any days.

Safe sidewalks and shoulders more available in some areas

Access to sidewalks influences physical activity and the amount of time spent walking. Studies have shown that people are more likely to use sidewalks that are in good condition than sidewalks that are not. The 2017 CHSS asked adults in the region whether there were sidewalks or shoulders on streets in their community that allow for safe walking, jogging or biking. Seven in 10 adults in the region (73 percent) agreed with this statement. This percentage has remained relatively steady since 2010.

Adults living in the city of Cincinnati were more likely than those living in other regions, particularly parts of rural Ohio, rural Kentucky and Indiana, to report safe sidewalks or shoulders.

Two in 10 adults sit for at least eight hours a day

“Long periods of time spent sitting, even when paired with moderate physical activity, can lead to poor health,” says Dr. Owens. Studies have
indicated that sedentary behavior can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. The 2017 CHSS asked adults in the region how many hours per day they usually spent sitting over the past week.

More than 2 in 10 adults in the region (25 percent) spend at least eight hours sitting each day. Fewer than 1 in 10 (9 percent) spend less than two hours per day sitting. Sitting for more than eight hours was more common among adults with a college degree (32 percent) than among adults with less education.

Measuring physical activity at work and at leisure

The 2017 CHSS incorporated the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), short form. Adults are asked to report their level of activity
over the past seven days in four categories: vigorous activity, moderate activity, walking and sitting.

Answers to these questions on the 2017 CHSS suggest that 6 in 10 adults in our region have high levels of activity (60 percent); 2 in 10 have moderate levels of activity (23 percent); and 2 in 10 have low levels of activity (17 percent). These results show more self-reported physical activity than is sometimes reported in our region. One possible reason is that measurements of physical activity often rely on self-reports of activity outside of working hours only.

The IPAQ asks respondents to report about all activity, including at work, at home and at leisure. Using the IPAQ, people could qualify as “moderately” or “highly” active because of the time they spend on their feet as part of their job, even if they have little or no activity outside the workplace. 

This is the first time CHSS has incorporated this tool to measure physical activity. Additional research is required to better understand how we can use self-reported measures to explore physical activity levels in both work and nonwork environments.

More information about Greater Cincinnati adults’ physical activity, and other topics, is available online at

About the Community Health Status Survey (CHSS)

The 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS) was conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati for Interact for Health. A total of 4,261 randomly selected adults residing in eight Ohio counties, nine Kentucky counties, and five Indiana counties were interviewed by telephone between August 10, 2016, and March 8, 2017. This included 1,906 landline interviews and 2,355 cell phone interviews. The potential sampling error for the overall survey data is ±1.5%. For more information about the CHSS and a list of community partners, please visit

About Interact for Health

Interact for Health builds healthy communities for all people. We serve as a catalyst for health and wellness by promoting healthy living through grants, education, research, policy and engagement. Interact for Health is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. More information is available on our website,

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