What Is Driving Obesity? A Review on the Connections Between Obesity and Motorized Transportation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Traveling by automobile rather than walking or cycling can encourage obesity by eliminating physical activity. As national obesity rates in the USA have reached 37.9% in 2014, understanding the connections between obesity and transportation choices can help policymakers in the public health community propose effective obesity interventions at the national level.

RECENT FINDINGS: Following from foundational studies examining associations between the built environment and leisure walking, recent studies consider a diverse set of transportation choices regarding mode (e.g., automobile, walking, public transit) and purpose (e.g., commuting, leisure), along with studies on the effectiveness of several transportation-related interventions for obesity. The reviewed studies point toward potential interventions for obesity; there is emerging evidence that commuting by public transit may be one such intervention. Moreover, new data-gathering tools such as global positioning systems, geographic information systems, and accelerometers may alleviate statistical obstacles in conducting future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Obesity Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Active travel
  • Automobile travel
  • Built environment
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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