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Driving towards obesity: A systematized literature review on the association between motor vehicle travel time and distance and weight status in adults

Preventive Medicine
DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.06.002
  • Physical Activity
  • Driving
  • Obesity
  • Weight
  • Transportation
  • Motor Vehicle


Abstract Background Higher levels of sedentary behavior are associated with adverse health outcomes. Over-reliance on private motor vehicles for transportation is a potential contributor to the obesity epidemic. The objective of this study was to review evidence on the relationship between motor vehicle travel distance and time and weight status among adults. Methods Keywords associated with driving and weight status were entered into four databases (PubMed Medline Transportation Research Information Database and Web of Science) and retrieved article titles and abstracts screened for relevance. Relevant articles were assessed for their eligibility for inclusion in the review (English-language articles a sample ≥16years of age included a measure of time or distance traveling in motor vehicle and weight status and estimated the association between driving and weight status). Results The database search yielded 2781 articles, from which 88 were deemed relevant and 10 studies met the inclusion criteria. Of the 10 studies included in the review, 8 found a statistically significant positive association between time and distance traveled in a motor vehicle and weight status. Conclusions Multilevel interventions that make alternatives to driving private motor vehicles more convenient, such as walking and cycling, are needed to promote healthy weight in the adult population.

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