Saturday, March 17, 2012

Associations between Safety from Crime, Cycling, and Obesity in a Dutch Elderly Population: Results from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam

Cycling has been found to be a healthful daily physical activity, associated with lower risk for overweigh and obesity. People are more likley to cycle when they have the motivation, abilities and opportunities to use their bikes. In a paper we just published, with Dr. Stef Kremers as first author, in the Journal of Public and Environmental Health we explored the potential impact of safe opportunities for cycling on likelihood to cycle in a population of Dutch elderly. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to investigate differences in associations between crime rates, cycling, and weight status between people living in low and high socioeconomic status (SES) neighbourhoods. In total, 470 participants in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam were included (age: 63–70 y). Body height and weight were measured using a stadiometer and calibrated weight scale, respectively. Cycling behaviour was assessed in a face-to-face interview, and neighbourhood crime rates were assessed using data from police reports. Men from high SES neighbourhoods cycled more than men in low SES neighbourhoods and cycling was less negatively related to crime rates among both men and women in low SES neighbourhoods. This study indicates that neighbourhood safety issues should be considered in promoting cycling in lower SES neighbourhoods.