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Background: Driving is a common part of modern society, but its potential effects on health are not well understood. Purpose: The present cross-sectional study (n = 37,570) examined the associations of driving time with a series of health behaviors and outcomes in a large population sample of middle-aged and older adults using data from the Social, Economic, and Environmental Factor Study conducted in New South Wales, Australia, in 2010. Methods: Multiple logistic regression was used in 2013 to examine the associations of usual daily driving time with health-related behaviors (smoking, alcohol use, diet, physical activity, sedentary behavior, sleep) and outcomes (obesity, general health, quality of life, psychological distress, time stress, social functioning), adjusted for socio-demographic characteristics. Results: Findings suggested that longer driving time was associated with higher odds for smoking, insufficient physical activity, short sleep, obesity, and worse physical and mental health. The associations consistently showed a dose-response pattern and more than 120 minutes of driving per day had the strongest and most consistent associations with the majority of outcomes. Conclusion: This study highlights driving as a potential lifestyle risk factor for public health. More population-level multidisciplinary research is needed to understand the mechanism of how driving affects health.

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access


© 2014 Ding et al. 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.

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