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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011 Feb;21(1):48-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01004.x.

The association between cycling to school and being overweight in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Kristiansand (Norway).

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  • 1Faculty of Health and Sport, University of Agder, Norway.


Active transportation is a behavior that might contribute to energy balance. However, no clear association between active commuting to school and weight status has been reported in the international literature. Also, new studies indicate that cycling to school might have a greater health potential than walking to school. The purpose of the present study is to assess the potential association between cycling to school and weight status in two European cities, Rotterdam and Kristiansand, where cycling to school remains common. Data from two studies, ENDORSE (Rotterdam) and Youth in Balance (Kristiansand), were used including, respectively, 1361 and 1197 adolescents with mean ages of 14.1 and 14.4 years. The adolescents were categorized as cyclist or non-cyclist based on questionnaires on the usual mode of transportation to school. A total of 25% and 18% were categorized as overweight, and 35% and 31% were categorized as cyclists, in Rotterdam and Kristiansand, respectively. In multilevel logistic analyses, after adjusting for potential moderators, the odds ratios for cyclists being overweight compared with non-cyclists were, respectively, 0.63 (95% CI=0.45-0.89) and 0.52 (95% CI=0.34-0.78) in Rotterdam and Kristiansand. The results presented clearly show a negative association between cycling to school and overweight among adolescents both in Rotterdam and in Kristiansand.

© 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

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