The Relations Between Driving Behavior, Physical Activity, and Weight Status Among Canadian Adults

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Kenda C. Swanson
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Gavin R. McCormack
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Evidence regarding the relative contributions of physical activity (PA) and driving behavior on weight status is limited. This study examined the associations between driving and PA behavior and weight status among Canadian adults.


A random cross-section of Calgarian adults (n = 1026) completed a telephone-interview and a self-administered questionnaire. Weekly physical activity time, daily driving time, BMI, motor vehicle access, and demographic characteristics were captured. Logistic regression was used to estimate associations between driving minutes (0−209, 219−419, 420−839, 840−1679, and ≥ 1680 min/week), motor vehicle access, sufficient PA (210 min/week of moderate-intensity PA or 90 min/week of vigorous-intensity PA), and the likelihood of being 1) overweight/obese vs. healthy weight and 2) obese only vs. healthy/ overweight.


Compared with driving ≤ 209 min/week, driving 840 to 1679 min/week significantly (P < .05) increased the likelihood of being overweight/obese (OR 2.08). Insufficient PA was positively associated with being overweight/obese (OR 1.43). Each hour/week of driving was associated with a 1.6% reduction in the odds of achieving sufficient PA. A 3-fold increase (OR 3.73) in the likelihood of overweight was found among insufficiently active individuals who drove 210 to 419 min/week compared with sufficiently active individuals who drove ≤ 209 min/week.


Interventions that decrease driving time and increase PA participation may be important for reducing weight among Canadian adults.

Swanson is with the Population Health Intervention Research Centre, University of Calgary, Alberta, Calgary, Canada. McCormack is with the Dept of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Alberta, Calgary, Canada.

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