The Association between Commuting and Cardiovascular Disease: A Biomarker-based Analysis of Cross-sectional Cohort Data from the UK Biobank

Micha Kaiser*, Jan Michael Bauer, Steffen Otterbach, Lucia A. Reisch, Alfonso Sousa-Poza

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This study used cross-sectional UK Biobank data to estimate the influence of active and passive commuting modes and commuting distance on cardiovascular disease (CVD) -related biomarkers as measures of health outcomes. The analysis applied logistic regression to assess the risk of exhibiting individual biomarker values outside a predefined reference interval and standard linear regression to estimate the relation between commuting practices and a composite CVD index. The study sample comprised 208,893 UK Biobank baseline survey participants aged 40 to 69 who use various modes of transport to commute to work at least once a week. Participants were recruited and interviewed between 2006 and 2010 at 22 centers geographically dispersed across England, Scotland, and Wales. The data set included these participants' sociodemographic and health-related information, including lifestyle indicators and biological measures. The primary outcome was a shift from low to high-risk blood serum levels in eight cardiovascular biomarkers: total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein, high density lipoprotein, triglycerides, apolipoprotein A and B, C-reactive protein, and lipoprotein (a). Our results indicated a small negative association between the composite risk index for CVD biomarkers and weekly commuting distance. Although estimates for active commuting modes (cycling, walking) may admittedly be sensitive to different covariate adjustments, our specifications show them to be positively associated with select CVD biomarkers. Commuting long distances by car is negatively associated with CVD-related biomarkers, while cycling and walking might be positively associated. This biomarker-based evidence, although limited, is less susceptible to residual confounding than that from distant outcomes like CVD mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107521
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume172
Number of pages6
ISSN0091-7435
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Active commuting
  • Biomarker
  • Cardiovascular disease risk
  • Cycling
  • Physical activity

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