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BACKGROUND: Although the benefit of physical activity on cardiovascular health has been well demonstrated, being physically active can be difficult for health care workers. Active commuting such as walking or cycling may be a good way to promote physical activity. AIMS: To investigate the relationship between active commuting and cardiovascular disease risk factors in health care workers. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of health care workers conducted in Chiang Mai University Hospital, Thailand. Information on demographics and lifestyle, including active commuting, was obtained from questionnaires. Results were analysed with multiple logistic regression, adjusting for other physical activity and possible confounders. RESULTS: Among 3204 participants, fewer than half engaged in active commuting. After adjustment for poss ible confounders, low active commuting was associated with increased risk of hypertension [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-1.7]. High active commuting was associated with central obesity (aOR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-1.8). Compared with non-active commuters, younger active commuters (aged under 40) had reduced prevalence of hypertension (aOR 0.4, 95% CI 0.2-1.0), while older active commuters (aged 40 or over) demonstrated increased hypertension (aOR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1-2.3) and central obesity (aOR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1-2.1). CONCLUSIONS: We found conflicting evidence on the relationship between active commuting and cardiovascular risk factors. Reverse causation may explain the association between active commuting and hypertension and central obesity and should be investigated further.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/occmed/kqw029

Type

Journal article

Journal

Occup Med (Lond)

Publication Date

08/2016

Volume

66

Pages

483 - 487

Keywords

Active commuting, cardiovascular risk factor, health care worker., Adult, Age Factors, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cross-Sectional Studies, Exercise, Female, Health Personnel, Humans, Hypertension, Life Style, Logistic Models, Male, Middle Aged, Obesity, Abdominal, Odds Ratio, Risk Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, Thailand, Transportation