Is active travel part of a healthy lifestyle? Results from a latent class analysis

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Abstract

Introduction: Behavioral health risk factors are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The four main risk factors, the so-called SNAP-factors, relate to smoking, nutrition, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity. A consistent finding in health research is that these behaviors tend to cluster together, thereby resulting in patterns of healthy lifestyles and unhealthy ones. In research to date, physical (in)activity is typically included using broad categories relating to the total amount of physical (in)activity. As such, it is unknown to what extent active travel behaviors (i.e. walking and cycling) as specific forms of physical activity are related to the health lifestyles. Methods: In this study this knowledge gap is addressed by performing a latent class analysis based on indicators related to active travel as well as the four SNAP-factors. Data are obtained from the LISS (Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social sciences) panel, which is based on a true probability sample of Dutch households. In total, 2050 participants are considered in the analysis. Results: Five health lifestyles are revealed and labeled as follows: consistent healthy, active commuters, physically inactive, unhealthy eaters and consistent unhealthy. The results indicate that active travel (or lack thereof) indeed forms an integral part of the consistent healthy (and unhealthy) lifestyles. In addition, lifestyle membership is found to be significantly dependent on gender, age and level of education. Conclusion: For most people (70%) active travel (or lack thereof) indeed forms an integral part of these consistent healthy and unhealthy lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Active travel
  • Cycling
  • Health behaviors
  • Latent class analysis
  • SNAP factors
  • Walking

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