Bicycling Policy Indirectly Associated with Overweight/Obesity


Policies and infrastructure that support commuting by bicycle are linked with lower rates of overweight and obesity among adults in large U.S. cities.


  • This study suggests that bicycle policies may not be directly related to rates of overweight/obese residents but initiate a series of effects leading to better health outcomes:
    • Bicycle policies are associated with more bicycle infrastructure, which is positively associated with higher percentages of workers commuting by bicycle.
    • Higher percentages of bike commuters are also associated with lower rates of residents who are overweight or obese, partially resulting from more bicycle facilities and higher bike commuting rates.
    • As a result, large cities with policies supportive of bicycling have fewer residents who are overweight or obese.


  • This was a cross-sectional study of the 51 largest U.S. cities comparing health data and commuting modes from the U.S. Census and bicycling policy and infrastructure from the ABW Benchmarking Project. This study design provides information about correlations but does not allow conclusions about causality.

Citation: Suminski, R.R., Wasserman, J.A., Mayfield, C.A., Freeman, E., Brandi, R. (2014). Bicycling Policy Indirectly Associated with Overweight/Obesity. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 47 (6), 715-721.

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