More than a third of people in Sunderland fail to walk for 10 consecutive minutes a week, according to the Department for Transport.
Public Health England has encouraged adults to walk for at least 10 minutes a day, but 36% of people in the area don’t manage one 10 minute walk a week. Across England the rate is 31%.
Figures from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey show that Sunderland has a lower than average weekly walking rate.
A 10-minute walk could include walking to work or to the shops, as well as taking a walk specifically for recreation or exercise.
The annual Active Lives survey, which ran from November 2016 to November 2017, asked a random sample of 1,003 adults over the age of 16 in Sunderland how active they had been in the past four weeks.
Sport England, which conducted the survey, aims to help get everyone in England to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity.
It focuses much of its work on programmes that help people who do very little or no physical activity, and groups who are typically less active.
In June, Public Health England and the Royal College of GPs launched a campaign to promote the health benefits of taking a brisk 10-minute walk every day.
PHE’s physical activity lead Dr Mike Brannan said: “While we’re starting to see more people being active, getting the nation moving presents a significant challenge and won’t be solved overnight.”
Dr Brannan said that being physically active reduces the risk of serious illnesses, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“For most people, walking or cycling is the easiest way to be active,” he added. “Even a 10-minute brisk walk every day can make a real difference to your health.”
In Sunderland people were more likely to walk as a leisure activity than for travel.
Some 47% of people said they took a recreational stroll at least once a week, compared with 34% that travelled at least once a week on foot.
Walking was least popular in Fenland, where 43% of survey respondents admitted they didn’t manage a weekly 10-minute walk.
The most dedicated walkers were found in Canterbury, where 45% of people took a 10-minute walk at least five times a week.
In 2017 the Department for Transport announced it would be investing £1.2 billion of funding into helping more people to walk and cycle.
It is investing an extra £620,000 on outreach programmes to encourage children to walk to school.
Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “Cycling and walking provide enormous benefits to both public health and the environment, and it’s good to see evidence that people are opting for a more active lifestyle.
“But it is also clear that as a cycling and walking nation the UK has a long way to go to match the best international models.”