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Cycling in São Paulo, Brazil (1997-2012): Correlates, time trends and health consequences

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Sá, TH 
Duran, AC 
Monteiro, CA 


The purpose of the study was to describe cyclists and cycling trips, and to explore correlates, time trends and health consequences of cycling in São Paulo, Brazil from 1997 to 2012. Cross-sectional analysis using repeated São Paulo Household Travel Surveys (HTS). At all time periods cycling was a minority travel mode in São Paulo (1174 people with cycling trips out of 214,719 people). Poisson regressions for individual correlates were estimated using the entire 2012 HTS sample. Men were six times more likely to cycle than women. We found rates of bicycle use rising over time among the richest quartile but total cycling rates dropped from 1997 to 2012 due to decreasing rates among the poor. Harms from air pollution would negate benefits from physical activity through cycling only at 1997 air pollution levels and at very high cycling levels (≥ 9 h of cycling per day). Exposure-based road injury risk decreased between 2007 and 2012, from 0.76 to 0.56 cyclist deaths per 1000 person-hours travelled. Policies to reduce spatial segregation, measures to tackle air pollution, improvements in dedicated cycling infrastructure, and integrating the bicycle with the public transport system in neighborhoods of all income levels could make cycling safer and prevent more individuals from abandoning the cycling mode in São Paulo.



transportation, motor activity, cycling, health promotion, Brazil, urban health, healthy city, risk assessment

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Preventive Medicine Reports

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Medical Research Council (MR/K023187/1)
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/G007462/1)
Wellcome Trust (087636/Z/08/Z)
Medical Research Council (MR/K021796/1)
Medical Research Council (MR/P024408/1)
THS acknowledges funding from the Brazilian Science without Borders Scheme (Process number: 200358/2014-6) and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (Process number: 2012/08565-4). ACD received a postdoctoral research fellowship from the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (249038/2013-7). MT and JW: The work was undertaken by the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. Funding from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust (MR/K023187/1), under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged.