What Is Driving Obesity? A Review on the Connections Between Obesity and Motorized Transportation
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- Cite this article as:
- King, D.M. & Jacobson, S.H. Curr Obes Rep (2017) 6: 3. doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0238-y
Purpose of Review
Traveling by automobile rather than walking or cycling can encourage obesity by eliminating physical activity. As national obesity rates in the USA have reached 37.9% in 2014, understanding the connections between obesity and transportation choices can help policymakers in the public health community propose effective obesity interventions at the national level.
Following from foundational studies examining associations between the built environment and leisure walking, recent studies consider a diverse set of transportation choices regarding mode (e.g., automobile, walking, public transit) and purpose (e.g., commuting, leisure), along with studies on the effectiveness of several transportation-related interventions for obesity.
The reviewed studies point toward potential interventions for obesity; there is emerging evidence that commuting by public transit may be one such intervention. Moreover, new data-gathering tools such as global positioning systems, geographic information systems, and accelerometers may alleviate statistical obstacles in conducting future studies.