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Am J Prev Med. 2012 Dec;43(6):621-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.06.034.

Active transportation and cardiovascular disease risk factors in U.S. adults.

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.



Evidence of associations between active transportation (walking and bicycling for transportation) and health outcomes is limited. Better understanding of this relationship would inform efforts to increase physical activity by promoting active transportation.


This study examined associations between active transportation and cardiovascular disease risk factors in U.S. adults.


Using the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), adults (N=9933) were classified by level of active transportation. Multivariable linear and logistic regression analyses controlled for sociodemographic characteristics, smoking status, and minutes/week of non-active transportation physical activity. Analyses were conducted in 2011.


Overall, 76% reported no active transportation. Compared with no active transportation, mean BMI was lower among individuals with low (-0.9, 95% CI= -1.4, -0.5) and high (-1.2, 95% CI= -1.7, -0.8) levels of active transportation. Mean waist circumference was lower in the low (-2.2 cm, 95% CI= -3.2, -1.2) and high (-3.1 cm, 95% CI= -4.3, -1.9) active transportation groups. The odds of hypertension were 24% lower (AOR=0.76, 95% CI=0.61, 0.94) and 31% lower (AOR=0.69, 95% CI=0.58, 0.83) among individuals with low and high levels of active transportation, respectively, compared with no active transportation. High active transportation was associated with 31% lower odds of diabetes (AOR=0.69, 95% CI=0.54, 0.88). Active transportation was not associated with high-density lipoprotein level.


Active transportation was associated with more-favorable cardiovascular risk factor profiles, providing additional justification for infrastructure and policies that permit and encourage active transportation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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