Long-term transportation noise annoyance is associated with subsequent lower levels of physical activity

Environ Int. 2016 May;91:341-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2016.03.011. Epub 2016 Mar 28.


Noise annoyance (NA) might lead to behavioral patterns not captured by noise levels, which could reduce physical activity (PA) either directly or through impaired sleep and constitute a noise pathway towards cardiometabolic diseases. We investigated the association of long-term transportation NA and its main sources (aircraft, road, and railway) at home with PA levels. We assessed 3842 participants (aged 37-81) that attended the three examinations (SAP 1, 2, and 3 in years 1991, 2001 and 2011, respectively) of the population-based Swiss cohort on Air Pollution and Lung and Heart Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA). Participants reported general 24-h transportation NA (in all examinations) and source-specific NA at night (only SAP 3) on an ICBEN-type 11-point scale. We assessed moderate, vigorous, and total PA from a short-questionnaire (SAP 3). The main outcome was moderate PA (active/inactive: cut-off≥150min/week). We used logistic regression including random effects by area and adjusting for age, sex, socioeconomic status, and lifestyles (main model) and evaluated potential effect modifiers. We analyzed associations with PA at SAP 3 a) cross-sectionally: for source-specific and transportation NA in the last year (SAP 3), and b) longitudinally: for 10-y transportation NA (mean of SAP 1+2), adjusting for prior PA (SAP 2) and changes in NA (SAP 3-2). Reported NA (score≥5) was 16.4%, 7.5%, 3%, and 1.1% for 1-year transportation, road, aircraft, and railway at SAP 3, respectively. NA was greater in the past, reaching 28.5% for 10-y transportation NA (SAP 1+2). The 10-y transportation NA was associated with a 3.2% (95% CI: 6%-0.2%) decrease in moderate PA per 1-NA rating point and was related to road and aircraft NA at night in cross-sectional analyses. The longitudinal association was stronger for women, reported daytime sleepiness or chronic diseases and it was not explained by objectively modeled levels of road traffic noise at SAP 3. In conclusion, long-term NA (related to psychological noise appraisal) reduced PA and could represent another noise pathway towards cardiometabolic diseases.

Keywords: Aircraft; Annoyance; Disease; Noise; Physical activity; Traffic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Noise, Transportation / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland