Daily mobility patterns of an urban population and their relationship to overweight and obesity

Marta Olabarria, Katherine Pérez, Elena Santamariña-Rubio, Ana M. Novoa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: General mobility is a daily behaviour that could result in a positive contribution to overall physical activity through walking for transportation or a negative contribution resulting in sedentarism caused by driving. The objective of this study is to examine the relationship between mobility and overweight/obesity in an urban context, while considering physical activity in leisure time, socioeconomic and lifestyle characteristics, and individual health status. Methods: Cross-sectional study based on the 2011 Barcelona Health Survey. We selected individuals who reported no physical limitations (N=2312). The dependent variable was "Body Mass Index" calculated from self-reported weight and height measures (low/normal or overweight/obese). The main explanatory variable was "mobility" (Participant walked≥30. min; walked<30. min; travelled by public transport only; travelled in private motorised transport only). Prevalence ratios (PR) were calculated to study the relationship between mobility and overweight/obesity while also accounting for other variables. Results: In Barcelona, 47.8% of men and 28.1% of women aged 15-64 years were overweight or obese. Compared to individuals who used motorised transport only, lower risk of overweight/obesity was found in men travelling by public transport only [PR=0.75 (0.64-0.90)], walking<30. min [PR=0.81 (0.70-0.93)] or ≥30. min [PR=0.81 (0.73-0.90)]. We did not observe a significant association among women. Conclusion: Behavioural changes toward more active mobility could reduce the likelihood of being overweight or obese, mainly in men. This reinforces the idea of active transport as a public health strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalTransport Policy
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Active transportation
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Sedentary behaviours
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation


Dive into the research topics of 'Daily mobility patterns of an urban population and their relationship to overweight and obesity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this