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Modern, urban lifestyles have engineered physical activity out of everyday life and this presents a major threat to human health. The Netherlands is a world leader in active travel, particularly cycling, but little research has sought to quantify the cumulative amount of physical activity through everyday walking and cycling. Using data collected as part of the Dutch National Travel Survey — , this paper determines the degree to which Dutch walking and cycling contributes to meeting minimum level of physical activity of minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity throughout the week.
The sample includes 74, individuals who recorded at least some travel on the day surveyed. As physical activity benefits are cumulative, all walking and cycling trips are analysed, including those to and from public transport.
These trips are then converted into an established measure of physical activity intensity, known as metabolic equivalents of tasks. Multivariate Tobit regression models were performed on a range of socio-demographic, transport resources, urban form and meteorological characteristics. Active transport was positively related with age, income, bicycle ownership, urban density and air temperature. Car ownership had a strong negative relationship with physically active travel.
The results of this analysis demonstrate the significance of active transport to counter the emerging issue of sedentary lifestyle disease.
The Dutch experience provides other countries with a highly relevant case study in the creation of environments and cultures that support healthy, active living. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.