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      Patterns and predictors of changes in active commuting over 12 months

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          Abstract

          Objective

          To assess the predictors of uptake and maintenance of walking and cycling, and of switching to the car as the usual mode of travel, for commuting.

          Methods

          655 commuters in Cambridge, UK reported all commuting trips using a seven-day recall instrument in 2009 and 2010. Individual and household characteristics, psychological measures relating to car use and environmental conditions on the route to work were self-reported in 2009. Objective environmental characteristics were assessed using Geographical Information Systems. Associations between uptake and maintenance of commuting behaviours and potential predictors were modelled using multivariable logistic regression.

          Results

          Mean within-participant changes in commuting were relatively small (walking: + 3.0 min/week, s.d. = 66.7; cycling: − 5.3 min/week, s.d. = 74.7). Self-reported and objectively-assessed convenience of public transport predicted uptake of walking and cycling respectively, while convenient cycle routes predicted uptake of cycling and a pleasant route predicted maintenance of walking. A lack of free workplace parking predicted uptake of walking and alternatives to the car. Less favourable attitudes towards car use predicted continued use of alternatives to the car.

          Conclusions

          Improving the convenience of walking, cycling and public transport and limiting the availability of workplace car parking may promote uptake and maintenance of active commuting.

          Highlights

          • Few studies have examined predictors of uptake and maintenance of active commuting.

          • Convenient public transport and lack of parking at work predicted uptake of walking.

          • Convenient cycle routes predicted uptake of cycling.

          • Having a pleasant route for walking predicted maintenance of walking.

          • Interventions to address these factors may help promote active commuting.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Active commuting and cardiovascular risk: a meta-analytic review.

          Leisure time physical activity is inversely associated with cardiovascular risk, although evidence for the protective effects of active commuting is more limited. The present review examines evidence from prospective epidemiological studies of commuting activity and cardiovascular risk. Meta-analytic procedures were performed to examine the association between commuting physical activity and cardiovascular risk. Several cardiovascular endpoints were examined including mortality, incident coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes. We included eight studies in the overall analysis (173,146 participants) that yielded 15 separate risk ratios (RR). The overall meta-analysis demonstrated a robust protective effect of active commuting on cardiovascular outcomes (integrated RR=0.89, 95% confidence interval 0.81-0.98, p=0.016). However, the protective effects of active commuting were more robust among women (0.87, 0.77-0.98, p=0.02) than in men (0.91, 0.80-1.04, p=0.17). Active commuting that incorporates walking and cycling was associated with an overall 11% reduction in cardiovascular risk, which was more robust among women. Future studies should investigate the reasons for possible gender effects and also examine the importance of commuting activity intensity.
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            Commuting by Bicycle: An Overview of the Literature

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              The implications of megatrends in information and communication technology and transportation for changes in global physical activity.

              Physical inactivity accounts for more than 3 million deaths per year, most from non-communicable diseases in low-income and middle-income countries. We used reviews of physical activity interventions and a simulation model to examine how megatrends in information and communication technology and transportation directly and indirectly affect levels of physical activity across countries of low, middle, and high income. The model suggested that the direct and potentiating eff ects of information and communication technology, especially mobile phones, are nearly equal in magnitude to the mean eff ects of planned physical activity interventions. The greatest potential to increase population physical activity might thus be in creation of synergistic policies in sectors outside health including communication and transportation. However, there remains a glaring mismatch between where studies on physical activity interventions are undertaken and where the potential lies in low-income and middle-income countries for population-level effects that will truly affect global health.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Prev Med
                Prev Med
                Preventive Medicine
                Academic Press
                0091-7435
                1096-0260
                1 December 2013
                December 2013
                : 57
                : 6
                : 776-784
                Affiliations
                [a ]Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit & UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, UK
                [b ]Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK & UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author at: UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), Box 296, Institute of Public Health, Robinson Way, Forvie Site, Cambridge, CB2 0SR, UK. Fax: + 44 1223 330316. jenna.panter@ 123456mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk
                Article
                S0091-7435(13)00272-7
                10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.07.020
                3842498
                23938464
                © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

                This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.

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