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Prev Med. 2008 Jan;46(1):29-32. Epub 2007 Aug 23.

Inverse associations between cycling to work, public transport, and overweight and obesity: findings from a population based study in Australia.

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Health Promotion Service, Sydney South West Area Health Service, Level 9, King George V Building, Missenden Road, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.



The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between various modes of transport to work and overweight and obesity, in men and women.


The study was conducted using data from a representative sample of 6810 respondents who reported being in the workforce, extracted from the 2003 New South Wales Adult Health Survey, Australia. Logistic regression modeling adjusted for potential confounders.


Men who cycled to work were significantly less likely to be overweight and obese (39.8%) compared with those driving to work (60.8%), with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.49 (95% CI: 0.31-0.76) and much less likely to be obese (5.4%) with an adjusted odds ratio 0.34 (95% CI: 0.13-0.87). Men who used public transport to work were also significantly less likely to be overweight and obese (44.6%) with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.65 (95% CI: 0.53-0.81). However, these inverse relationships were not found in women.


These findings support recommendations to cycle to work or use public transport as a strategy to maintain healthy weight for men. Although healthy weight cannot be causally attributed to cycling and use of public transport in this study, the link is plausible, and increased cycling and use of public transport would have positive benefits for the environment and health in any case.

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