Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Patterns and correlates of active commuting in adults with type 2 diabetes: cross-sectional evidence from UK Biobank
  1. Catherine L Falconer1,2,
  2. Ashley R Cooper2,3,
  3. Ellen Flint4
  1. 1 South West Public Health, NHS Gloucestershire Foundation Trust, Cheltenham, UK
  2. 2 NIHR Bristol Nutrition Biomedical Research Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  3. 3 Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  4. 4 Department of Social and Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ashley R Cooper; ashley.cooper{at}


Objectives To describe the active commuting (AC) patterns of adults with type 2 diabetes and how these relate to physical activity and sedentary behaviour in UK Biobank. Social and environmental correlates of AC will also be explored.

Design Cross-sectional analysis of a cohort study.

Settings This is a population cohort of over 500 000 people recruited from 22 centres across the UK. Participants aged between 37 and 73 years were recruited between 2006 and 2010.

Participants 6896 participants with a self-reported type 2 diabetes diagnosis who reported commuting to work and had complete covariate data were included in the analysis.

Exposure measures Exposure measures were AC to work, measured as usual mode of transport.

Outcome measures Outcome measures were weekly minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), hours/day of sedentary time and participation in active travel.

Results AC (reporting walking or cycling to work only) was reported by 5.5% of participants, with the great majority using the car to commute (80%). AC was associated with an additional 73 (95% CI 10.8 to 134.9) and 105 (95% CI 41.7 to 167.2) weekly minutes of MVPA for men and women, respectively. AC was associated with reduced sedentary time (β −1.1, 95% CI −1.6 to –0.7 hours/day for men; and β −0.8, 95% CI −1.2 to –0.3 hours/day for women). Deprivation and distance from home to work were identified as correlates of AC behaviour.

Conclusions Rates of AC are very low in adults with type 2 diabetes. However, AC offers a potentially sustainable solution to increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour. Therefore, strategies to improve the environment and encourage AC may help to increase population levels of physical activity and reduce the disease burden associated with type 2 diabetes.

  • general Diabetes
  • epidemiology
  • preventive Medicine
  • public Health

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Contributors CLF, ARC and EF made substantial contributions to the conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data. All authors drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript to be published.

  • Funding This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Bristol Nutrition Biomedical Research Unit. The funding covered the cost of data access only.

  • Disclaimer This research has been conducted using the UK Biobank Resource under Application Number 19307.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval UK Biobank and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine ethics board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.