A Walk (or Cycle) to the Park. Active Transit to Neighborhood Amenities, the CARDIA Study

Janne Boone-Heinonen, David R. Jacobs, Stephen Sidney, Barbara Sternfeld, Cora E. Lewis, Penny Gordon-Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Building on known associations between active commuting and reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, this study examines active transit to neighborhood amenities and differences between walking and cycling for transportation. Methods: Year-20 data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study (3549 black and white adults aged 38-50 years in 2005-2006) were analyzed in 2008-2009. Sociodemographic correlates of transportation mode (car-only, walk-only, any cycling, other) to neighborhood amenities were examined in multivariable multinomial logistic models. Gender-stratified multivariable linear or multinomial regression models compared CVD risk factors across transit modes. Results: Active transit was most common to parks and public transit stops; walking was more common than cycling. Among those who used each amenity, active transit (walk-only and any cycling versus car-only transit) was more common in men and those with no live-in partner and less than full-time employment (significant ORs [95% CI] ranging from 1.56 [1.08, 2.27] to 4.54 [1.70, 12.14]), and less common in those with children. Active transit to any neighborhood amenity was associated with more favorable BMI, waist circumference, and fitness (largest coefficient [95% CI] -1.68 [-2.81, -0.55] for BMI, -3.41 [-5.71, -1.11] for waist circumference [cm], and 36.65 [17.99, 55.31] for treadmill test duration [seconds]). Only cycling was associated with lower lifetime CVD risk classification. Conclusions: Active transit to neighborhood amenities was related to sociodemographics and CVD risk factors. Variation in health-related benefits by active transit mode, if validated in prospective studies, may have implications for transportation planning and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The CARDIA study is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (N01-HC-95095, N01-HC-48047–48050, and N01-HC-05187). Analysis is supported by NCI (R01 CA12115, R01 CA109831) and NICHD (K01 HD044263). Additional funding comes from the UNC-CH Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility (CEHS), the UNC-CH Clinic Nutrition Research Center (NIH DK56350), the Carolina Population Center, and from contracts with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Coordinating Center (N01-HC-95095); University of Alabama at Birmingham, Field Center (N01-HC-48047); University of Minnesota, Field Center (N01-HC-48048); Northwestern University, Field Center (N01-HC-48049); and Kaiser Foundation Research Institute (N01-HC-48050 and R01-HL078972) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The authors would like to thank Drs. Gina Wei and Ellen Funkhouser for their comments on the manuscript, Ms. Niobra Peterson for her help with the literature review and variable coding, and Ms. Frances Dancy for her helpful administrative assistance.


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