Means of transportation to work and overweight and obesity: a population-based study in southern Sweden

Prev Med. 2008 Jan;46(1):22-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2007.07.012. Epub 2007 Jul 17.


Objectives: To investigate the association between means of transportation to work and overweight+obesity and obesity.

Methods: The 2004 public health survey in Skåne is a cross-sectional postal questionnaire study of the population aged 18-80 with a 59% response rate including 16,705 employed participants.

Results: Forty-six percent of men and 26.6% of women were overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9); 11.6% of men and 10.3% of women were obese (BMI 30.0-); 18.2% of men and 25.9% of women bicycled and/or walked to work and 10.4% and 16.2% used public transportation, respectively. In contrast, 68.3% of men and 55.8% of women went to work by car. The odds ratios of overweight+obesity among persons who walked or bicycled were significantly lower and remained 0.62 (95% CI 0.51-0.76) among men and 0.79 (95% CI 0.67-0.94) among women in the models including all confounders compared to the car driving reference category. The odds ratios of obesity were initially significantly lower among both men and women who walked or bicycled, but in the final models only among women. The odds ratios of overweight+obesity as well as obesity were also lower among men using public transportation.

Conclusions: Walking and bicycling to work are significantly negatively associated with overweight+obesity and, to some extent, obesity. Public transportation is significantly negatively associated with overweight+obesity and obesity among men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Transportation / methods*