CDC: Americans aren't walking enough

“But there is still room for improvement," Dorn said. "People need more safe and convenient places to walk. People walk more where they feel protected from traffic and safe from crime. Communities can be designed or improved to make it easier for people to walk to the places they need and want to go.”

The CDC said local governments could let the public use the tracks at public schools and gyms when those facilities aren't otherwise in use. The agency also suggested that employers "can create walking paths around or near the work place and promote them with signs and route maps."

Westerns are especially good walkers — 68 percent of people who live in the West walk regularly, the highest of any region in the country. The biggest gains came in the South, where the percentage of regular walkers increased from 49 percent to 57 percent.

The survey found no measurable increase in walking among people with Type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to obesity.

“People who are physically active live longer and are at lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers. Having more places for people to walk in our communities will help us continue to see increases in walking, the most popular form of physical activity among American adults," CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in a statement.