Walking and Cycling to Health

A Comparative Analysis of City, State, and International Data
Source: American Journal of Public Health

This study sought to determine the magnitude, direction, and statistical significance of the relationship between active travel and rates of physical activity, obesity, and diabetes.

Aggregate cross-sectional health and travel data were examined for 14 countries, all 50 US states, and 47 of the 50 largest US cities through graphical, correlation, and bivariate regression analysis on the country, state, and city levels.

At all 3 geographic levels, statistically significant negative relationships were found between active travel and self-reported obesity. At the state and city levels, statistically significant positive relationships were found between active travel and physical activity and statistically significant negative relationships between active travel and diabetes.

Together with many other studies, the analysis provides evidence of the population-level health benefits of active travel. Policies on transport, land-use, and urban development should be designed to encourage walking and cycling for daily travel.

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