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Health Promot Int. 2013 Mar;28(1):133-43. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dar099. Epub 2012 Jan 26.

Is this the new smoking? An expert panel review of the York University OHV health benefits study.

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  • 1School of Recreation Management and Kinesiology, Acadia University, 550 Main Street, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada B4P2R6.


Recently, a study by Burr and his associates culminating in three peer reviewed journal articles and a string of press releases emanating from the off-highway vehicle (OHV) industry claimed that increasing riding time on all terrain recreational vehicles (ATVs) and off road motorcycles (ORMs) could meet the basic guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine and Health Canada for sufficient physical activity leading to positive health adaptations. Should this be true, this study could revolutionize the way that health professionals prescribe physical activity. To examine the efficacy of these claims, the authors convened an expert panel to examine these publications to particularly focus on the problem conceptualization, the research methodology including sample selection and controls, the presentation and interpretation of results and the veracity of their conclusions. The experts concluded, while never questioning the laboratory and field measurements, that there were a number of conceptual, methodological and interpretive limitations and errors that rendered the claims of health benefits indefensible. Furthermore, the researchers largely failed to take account of the healthcare costs associated with riding OHVs which according to the epidemiology literature, and particularly for ATVs, are considerable.

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