(HealthDay News) – Use of active travel to work is associated with lower likelihood of cardiovascular risk factors, according to a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Anthony A. Laverty, from Imperial College London, and colleagues analyzed data from the nationally representative Understanding Society survey (2009/2011) to assess sociodemographic correlates of active travel to work, and correlations between active travel and cardiovascular risk factors.

The researchers found that 69% of participants traveled to work using private transport, while 16% used public transport, 12% walked, and 3% cycled. Participants living in London were more likely to use active travel. Compared with whites, black participants were more likely to walk or take public transport to work (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.41 and 2.34, respectively). There was a lower likelihood of being overweight associated with using public transport, walking, or cycling to work (aOR, 0.80 for walking). Compared with public transport, walking or cycling correlated with a lower likelihood of having diabetes, and walking correlated with a lower likelihood of having hypertension (aOR, 0.83).

“The protective association between active travel and cardiovascular risk demonstrated in this nationally representative study adds to growing evidence that concerted policy focus in this area may benefit population health,” the authors write.

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