Changes in Cycling and Incidence of Overweight and Obesity among Danish Men and Women

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Abstract

Purpose

Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of several noncommunicable diseases and are a growing public health issue. The primary purpose of the current study was to investigate incidence of overweight and obesity according to 5-yr cycling habits. The secondary purpose was to investigate incidence of remission from overweight and obesity according to 5-yr cycling habits.

Methods

We analyzed 9014 men and 8661 women without chronic disease who between 1993 and 2003 completed two assessments approximately 5 yr apart. At both assessments, participants reported habitual cycling habits. Also, body weight and waist circumference were measured by a laboratory technician at baseline and self-assessed at second examination. We computed multivariable adjusted odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for development of and remission from abdominal and general overweight and obesity, according to 5-yr cycling habits.

Results

Continued cycling was associated with lower odds for incidence of abdominal (men, >102 cm; women, >88 cm) and incidence of general (body mass index ≥30 kg·m−2) obesity; compared with no cycling, OR (95% CI) values were 0.82 (0.74–0.91) and 0.74 (0.60–0.92) for abdominal and general obesity, respectively. Also, those who initiated cycling had lower odds for incidence of abdominal obesity; OR (95% CI) was 0.85 (0.73–1.00) relative to no cycling. Although we found no evidence of remission from abdominal and general overweight and obesity according to 5-yr cycling habits, those who continued cycling had significantly larger decreases in waist circumference relative to noncyclists (β coefficient (95% CI), −0.95 cm (−1.56 to −0.33 cm)).

Conclusions

Continued cycling compared with no cycling was associated with lower odds for abdominal and general obesity. Also, late-in-life initiation of cycling was associated with lower odds for abdominal obesity relative to no cycling.

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