Step It Up! The US Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking

Step It Up! The US Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking


Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has a prescription for the poor state of American health: a brisk walk.  He calls it a powerful tool to prevent chronic health problems.

With half of Americans suffering from a chronic disease – and two-thirds overweight – Murthy wants the USA to make walking a priority.  He says this easy and free activity could prevent serious health problems.

"The science tells us that 22 minutes of brisk walking or moderate physical activity can get you these health benefits of reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes," Murthy explained.

In his "Call to Action," the Surgeon General notes that half of American adults, or 117 million people, are living with a chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death in the United States.

"Increasing people's physical activity level will significantly reduce their risk of chronic disease and premature death and support positive mental health and healthy aging," the report says.

Despite the known health benefits of moderate exercise, government data shows that only half of U.S. adults and about a quarter of high school students reported getting the recommended amount of physical activity.

The Surgeon General also wants to make it easier for people to walk around their communities. His report urges government agencies, city planners and developers to design and maintain more pedestrian-friendly communities.

Currently about 30 percent of U.S. neighborhoods don't have sidewalks, especially in low income neighborhoods.