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Prev Med. 2014 Feb;59:5-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.10.019. Epub 2013 Nov 4.

Active commuting from youth to adulthood and as a predictor of physical activity in early midlife: the young Finns study.

Author information

1
LIKES - Research Center for Sport and Health Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland. Electronic address: xiaolin.yang@likes.fi.
2
LIKES - Research Center for Sport and Health Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland; Department of Sport Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
3
Department of Sport Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
4
LIKES - Research Center for Sport and Health Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland.
5
Department of Medicine, University of Turku, Turku University Hospital, Finland.
6
Department of Clinical Physiology, Turku University Hospital, Finland; Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Finland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aims of the study were to describe the stability of active commuting (AC) behavior (i.e., walking and cycling) over 27years and examine the relationship between AC and physical activity (PA) from youth to early midlife.

METHODS:

The mode and distance of travel were assessed using a self-reported questionnaire at five consecutive measurements between 1980 and 2007, when 2072 individuals were followed up from youth (9-18years) to adulthood (30-45years). PA was also measured using a questionnaire.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of AC declined sharply with age, particularly after 12years, while AC distances to work or place of study increased substantially. AC was concurrently and prospectively associated with PA in both men and women. Maintained AC, whether walking or cycling and short or long distances, positively predicted adult PA over time. Compared with persistently passive commuters, persistently active commuters had higher adult PA after adjustment for potential covariates. Increasing AC was independently associated with high adult PA, particularly in young adulthood.

CONCLUSIONS:

Walking and cycling to school/work should be encouraged, as regular AC is associated with higher levels of PA over 27years of follow-up, and thus, may contribute to a healthy and active lifestyle through the various stages of life-course.

KEYWORDS:

Active commuting; Adulthood; Cycling; Physical activity; Stability; Walking; Youth

PMID:
24201092
DOI:
10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.10.019
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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