Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Impact of changes in mode of travel to work on changes in body mass index: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey
  1. Adam Martin1,
  2. Jenna Panter2,
  3. Marc Suhrcke1,3,
  4. David Ogilvie2
  1. 1Health Economics Group and UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  2. 2MRC Epidemiology Unit and UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  3. 3Centre for Health Economics, University of York, York, UK
  1. Correspondence to Adam Martin, Health Economics Group and UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK; adam.martin{at}uea.ac.uk

Abstract

Background Active commuting is associated with various health benefits, but little is known about its causal relationship with body mass index (BMI).

Methods We used cohort data from three consecutive annual waves of the British Household Panel Survey, a longitudinal study of nationally representative households, in 2004/2005 (n=15 791), 2005/2006 and 2006/2007. Participants selected for the analyses (n=4056) reported their usual main mode of travel to work at each time point. Self-reported height and weight were used to derive BMI at baseline and after 2 years. Multivariable linear regression analyses were used to assess associations between switching to and from active modes of travel (over 1 and 2 years) and change in BMI (over 2 years) and to assess dose–response relationships.

Results After adjustment for socioeconomic and health-related covariates, the first analysis (n=3269) showed that switching from private motor transport to active travel or public transport (n=179) was associated with a significant reduction in BMI compared with continued private motor vehicle use (n=3090; −0.32 kg/m2, 95% CI −0.60 to −0.05). Larger adjusted effect sizes were associated with switching to active travel (n=109; −0.45 kg/m2, −0.78 to −0.11), particularly among those who switched within the first year and those with the longest journeys. The second analysis (n=787) showed that switching from active travel or public transport to private motor transport was associated with a significant increase in BMI (0.34 kg/m2, 0.05 to 0.64).

Conclusions Interventions to enable commuters to switch from private motor transport to more active modes of travel could contribute to reducing population mean BMI.

  • PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
  • WORKPLACE
  • OBESITY

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

View Full Text

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Supplementary materials

  • Supplementary Data

    This web only file has been produced by the BMJ Publishing Group from an electronic file supplied by the author(s) and has not been edited for content.

    Files in this Data Supplement:

  • Press Release

    Files in this Data Supplement:

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.