Dr. Richard Larouche is lead author on a paper, “Active travel and adults’ health: The 2007-to-2011 Canadian
Health Measures Surveys,” that was recently published in Health Reports. Citation details and a summary of the paper are below.
Richard Larouche, Guy Faulkner and Mark S. Tremblay. Active travel and adults’ health: The 2007-to-2011 Canadian Health Measures Surveys. Health Reports, Vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 10-18, April 2016 • Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 82-003-X.
Background: Active travel may be a means of integrating physical activity into an individual’s routine. This analysis investigates the relationship between utilitarian walking and cycling and objectively measured physical activity and health-related outcomes in a nationally representative sample of Canadian adults. Data and methods: Adults aged 20 to 79 who participated in the 2007-to-2011 Canadian Health Measures Surveys (n= 7,160) reported the weekly time spent in utilitarian walking and cycling, and also wore an Actical accelerometer for seven days. They underwent a series of tests to measure physical fitness, body composition, blood pressure, and biomarkers. Differences in physical activity and health-related outcomes across levels of utilitarian walking and cycling were assessed with ANCOVA analyses adjusted for age, sex, education, household income, self-reported usual daily physical activity, and the complex survey design. Results: Utilitarian walking and cycling were associated with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in a graded manner. Compared with respondents who reported walking 1 to 5 hours a week, those who walked more than 5 hours a week had lower skinfold thickness. Respondents who reported cycling 1 or more hours a week had greater aerobic fitness and lower body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, total cholesterol/HDL ratio, glycohemoglobin, C-reactive protein, and triglycerides than did those who did not cycle. They also had higher aerobic fitness and lower BMI and waist circumference than those who reported cycling less than an hour a week. Interpretation: Cycling at least an hour a week was associated with improved fitness and reduced cardiovascular disease risk factors. Both utilitarian walking and cycling may be means of increasing adults’ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.