What Factors Explain Bicycling and Walking for Commuting by ELSA-Brasil Participants?

Am J Health Promot. 2018 Mar;32(3):646-656. doi: 10.1177/0890117117738400. Epub 2017 Nov 9.


Purpose: To analyze the factors associated with commuting by bicycling and walking in adult participants from ELSA-Brasil (Longitudinal Study of Adult Health).

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: Six teaching/research institutions throughout Brazil.

Participants: A total of 15 105 civil servants.

Measures: Commuting by bicycling and walking was analyzed using the long-form International Physical Activity Questionnaire.

Analysis: A hierarchical model containing possible factors associated with commuting by bicycling and walking was constructed. Crude and adjusted odds ratios were calculated using multinomial logistic regression.

Results: Considering the 2 forms of commuting, 66% of the participants were being considered inactive or insufficiently active. In women, being "heavier," feeling unsafe practicing physical activity, and being a former smoker were factors negatively associated with commuting by bicycling and walking. In men, active commuting was less common among those who were overweight or had abdominal obesity, those with a negative perception of safety, and those reporting that there was nowhere suitable in the neighborhood to practice physical activity.

Conclusion: Obesity and negative perceptions in the neighborhood are associated with inactive or insufficiently active commuting. The relevance of this finding for public health is reinforce developing policies aimed at promoting health in Brazil and in other countries with similar characteristics.

Keywords: commuting; cycling; physical activity; social inequalities in health; walking.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bicycling / psychology*
  • Body Weight
  • Brazil
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environment*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Safety
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Transportation / methods*
  • Walking / psychology*