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Published evidence on cycling and health

Papers

Activity compensation and activity synergy in British 8-13 year olds  

Goodman A, Mackett RL, Paskins J. Preventative Medicine, 2011 Oct;53(4-5):293-8. 2011.

No evidence was found that children compensate for participating in physically active behaviors by reducing activity at other times. This suggests that interventions increasing activity in specific behaviors (such as cycling to school) may increase activity overall.

All-cause mortality associated with physical activity during leisure time, work, sports, and cycling to work

Andersen LB, Schnohr P, Schroll M, Hein HO. Arch Intern Med, 2000 Jun 12;160(11):1621-8. 2000.

Benefits of shift from car to active transport  

Rabl A, de Nazelle A. Transport Policy. 2011.

Estimates a health gain benefit from exercise (bicycling) at EUR 1310/year, plus a public health gain of EUR 33/year, vs. -EUR 19/year cost to the individual from air pollution, and -EUR 53/year from accidents. For the individual, that would give a benefit to risk ratio in Euros of 1310/(19+53) or about 18:1.

Changing gears: bicycling as the panacea for physical inactivity?  

Bauman A, Titze S, Rissel C, Oja P. Br J Sports Med, 2011;45:761-762. 2011.

A summary of the health benefits and risks of cycling. Describes current controversies and evidence challenges for cycling policy and promotion.

Cycling and health compendium

Froböse I. Wellcom / Selle. 2004.

Cycling and Health: what's the evidence?  

Cavill N, Davis A. Cycling England. 2007.

A comprehensive summary of the health benefits of cycling

Cycling and the promotion of health

Hillman M. PTRC 20th Summer Annual Meeting, Seminar B, pp 25-36. 1992.

Cycling to school and cardiovascular risk factors: a longitudinal study  

Andersen LB, Wedderkopp N, Kristensen P, Moller NC, Froberg K, Cooper AR. J Phys Act Health, 2011 Nov;8(8):1025-33. 2011.

A consistent pattern of better cardiovascular risk factor profile in commuter cyclists compared with children using other means of transport was found. Participants, who did not cycle to school at baseline, and who had changed to cycling at follow up, were fitter, had better cholesterol/HDL ratio, better glucose metabolism, and a lower composite CVD risk factor score than those who did not cycle at either time point.

Cycling to School Is Associated With Lower BMI and Lower Odds of Being Overweight or Obese in a Large Population-Based Study of Danish Adolescents  

Østergaard L, Grøntved A, Børrestad LA, Froberg K, Gravesen M, Andersen LB. J Phys Act Health, 2010 Jun 30 [Epub ahead of print]. 2010.

Cycling to school was associated with lower BMI and lower odds of being overweight or obese compared to passive travel in Danish adolescents, whereas walking to school was associated with lower odds of being overweight.

Cycling towards health and safety

. British Medical Association, ISBN 0-19-286151-4. 1992.

Do the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks?  

de Hartog JJ, Boogaard H, Nijland H, Hoek G. Environmental Health Perspectives, doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901747. 2010.

On average, the estimated health benefits of cycling were substantially larger than the risks relative to car driving for individuals shifting mode of transport. Estimated benefit to risk ratios of 9:1 (in Holland) and 7:1 (in Britain) in terms of years of life gained to lost.

Effets bénéfiques de l’exercice physique sur la santé   

Vuillemin A. INRETS. 2009.

Health on the move 2. Policies for health promoting transport

Mindell JS, Watkins SJ, Cohen JM. Transport & Health Study Group. 2011.

Cycling has great potential to assist public health programmes and reduce road danger. Fair comparison proves that the risks of cycling are within the range to which drivers and pedestrians are exposed. The most careful long-term studies do not reveal evidence of noticeable prevention of serious head injuries with rising helmet use.

Health, fitness, physical activity and morbidity of middle aged male factory workers  

Tuxworth W, Nevill AM, White C, Jenkins C. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1986 Nov;43(11):733-53. 1986.

Intensity versus duration of cycling, impact on all-cause and coronary heart disease mortality: the Copenhagen City Heart Study  

Schnohr P, Marott JL, Jensen JS, Jensen GB. Eur J Prev Cardiol, 2012 Feb;19(1):73-80. 2012.

Relative intensity of cycling, and not the duration of cycling, is of more importance in relation to all-cause and coronary heart disease mortality. Adults should prefer brisk cycling to slow.

Physical activity, all-cause mortality, and longevity of college alumni  

Paffenbarger RS, Hyde RT, Wing AL, Hsieh CC. New England Journal of Medicine, 1986;314:605-613. 1986.

Promoting safe walking and cycling to improve public health: lessons from the Netherlands and Germany  

Pucher J, Dijkstra L. American Journal of Public Health, 2003;93(9):1509-1516. 2003.

The health risks and benefits of cycling in urban environments compared with car use: health impact assessment study  

Rojas-Rueda D, de Nazelle A, Tainio M, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ. British Medical Journal, BMJ 2011; 343:d4521 . 2011.

The health benefits of cycling exceed the risks by 77:1, even in a busy city where few people wear helmets.

See also