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Prev Med. 2011 May;52(5):365-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.02.007. Epub 2011 Feb 19.

Longitudinal trends in gasoline price and physical activity: the CARDIA study.

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Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, USA.



To investigate longitudinal associations between community-level gasoline price and physical activity (PA).


In the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, 5115 black and white participants aged 18-30 at baseline 1985-86 were recruited from four U.S. cities (Birmingham, Chicago, Minneapolis and Oakland) and followed over time. We used data from 3 follow-up exams: 1992-93, 1995-96, and 2000-01, when the participants were located across 48 states. From questionnaire data, a total PA score was summarized in exercise units (EU) based on intensity and frequency of 13 PA categories. Using Geographic Information Systems, participants' residential locations were linked to county-level inflation-adjusted gasoline price data collected by the Council for Community & Economic Research. We used a random-effect longitudinal regression model to examine associations between time-varying gasoline price and time-varying PA, controlling for age, race, gender, baseline study center, and time-varying education, marital status, household income, county cost of living, county bus fare, census block-group poverty, and urbanicity.


Holding all control variables constant, a 25-cent increase in inflation-adjusted gasoline price was significantly associated with an increase of 9.9 EU in total PA (95% CI: 0.8-19.1).


Rising prices of gasoline may be associated with an unintended increase in leisure PA.

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