Active Transportation and Obesity Indicators in Adults from Latin America
Abstract: Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the association between active transportation and obesity indicators in adults from eight Latin American countries. Methods: Data from the ELANS study, an observational multi-country study (n: 8336; 18–65 years), were used. Active transportation (walking and cycling) and leisure time physical activity was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (long version). The obesity indicators considered were: body mass index, and waist and neck circumference. Results: In the total sample, the average time dedicated to active transportation was 24.3 min/day, with the highest amount of active transportation being Costa Rica (33.5 min/day), and the lowest being Venezuela (15.7 min/day). The countries with the highest proportion of active transportation were Ecuador (71.9%), and the lowest was Venezuela (40.5%). Results from linear regression analyses suggest that active transportation was significantly and independently associated with a lower body mass index (β: −0.033; 95% CI: −0.064; −0.002), but not with waist circumference (β: −0.037; 95% CI: −1.126; 0.390 and neck circumference (β: −0.007; 95% CI: −0.269; 0.130). Conclusions: Active transportation is significantly associated with a lower body mass index. Governments should incentivize this type of transportation as it could help to reduce the obesity pandemic in Latin America.