David Ogilvie

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (131)615.99 Total impact

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    Cornelia Guell · Guy Shefer · Simon Griffin · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To describe and explore perceptions, practices and motivations for active living in later life. Design Qualitative study with semistructured interviews and ‘semistructured’ participant observations of participant-selected activities, such as exercise classes, private or organised walks, shopping and gardening. Participants 27 participants (65–80 years) from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer Norfolk study, purposefully selected by gender, age, occupational class, living status and residential location; 19 of the participants agreed to be accompanied for observed activities. Setting Participants’ homes, neighbourhoods, places of leisure activities and workplaces in Norfolk, England. Results All participants regarded a positive attitude as important for healthy ageing; this included staying active, both physically and mentally through sedentary activities such as reading and crosswords. ‘Getting out of the house’, being busy, or following a variety of interests were regarded as both important motivators and descriptions of their ‘activeness’. Purposeful activities formed an important part of this, for example, still being engaged in paid or voluntary work, having caring responsibilities, or smaller incidental activities such as helping neighbours or walking for transport. Many also reported adapting previous, often lifelong, activity preferences and habits to their ageing body, or replacing them altogether with lower impact activities such as walking. This included adapting to the physical limitations of partners and friends which dictated the intensity and frequency of shared activities. The social context of activities could thus form a barrier to active living, but could also encourage it through companionship, social responsibilities and social pressures. Conclusions Promoting and maintaining physical activity among older people may require more attention to activeness as an attitude and way of life as well as to its social context, and initiatives encouraging broader activity habits rather than discrete activities.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · BMJ Open
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    ABSTRACT: Improving transport infrastructure to support walking and cycling on the journey to and from work – active commuting – could help to promote physical activity and improve population health. Aims To assess whether or not investment in new high-quality transport infrastructure was associated with an increase in active commuting; wider health impacts of changes in travel behaviour; determinants of the use and uptake of active commuting; and how changes in travel behaviour were distributed in the population and related to the wider social context. Design The Commuting and Health in Cambridge study, comprising a quasi-experimental cohort study combined with both nested and supplementary in-depth quantitative and qualitative studies. Setting Cambridgeshire, UK. Participants A cohort of 1143 adults living within 30 km of Cambridge, working in the city and recruited in 2009; and a separate sample of 1710 users intercepted on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway in 2012. Intervention The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, comprising a new bus network using 22 km of guideway (segregated bus track) accompanied by a traffic-free path for pedestrians and cyclists, opened in 2011. Main outcome measure Change in time spent in active commuting from 2009 to 2012, using a self-reported measure validated using georeferenced combined heart rate and movement sensor data. Methods A delay from 2009 to 2011 in completing the intervention entailed some changes to the original design and attrition of the cohort. A period of methodological and observational research on active commuting preceded the evaluation, which was based on a quasi-experimental cohort analysis together with the intercept and qualitative data. A graded measure of each participant’s exposure to the intervention, based on the proximity of the busway to his or her home, served as the basis for controlled comparisons. Results Commuting practices were complex and shaped by various changeable social and environmental factors. Walking and cycling were often incorporated into longer commuting journeys made predominantly by car or public transport. In multivariable multinomial regression analyses, exposure to the intervention was associated with a greater likelihood of a large increase in the proportion of commuting trips involving any active travel [adjusted relative risk ratio (RRR) 1.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.27 to 2.55], of a large decrease in the proportion of trips made entirely by car (RRR 2.09, 95% CI 1.35 to 3.21), and of an increase in weekly cycle commuting time (RRR 1.34, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.76). There was a mixed pattern of effects at the individual level, with the intervention providing a more supportive environment for active commuting for some and not for others. There was some evidence that the effect was most pronounced among those who reported no active commuting at baseline, and observational evidence suggesting a relationship between active commuting, greater overall physical activity, and improved well-being and weight status. Conclusions These findings provide new empirical support and direction for reconfiguring transport systems to improve population health and reduce health inequalities. They should be combined with evidence from research evaluating related environmental changes in other settings, preferably using longer periods of observation and controlled comparisons, to support more generalisable causal inference. Funding The National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research programme.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Active travel is associated with greater physical activity, but there is a dearth of research examining this relationship over time. We examined the longitudinal associations between change in time spent in active commuting and changes in recreational and total physical activity. Methods: Adult commuters working in Cambridge, United Kingdom completed questionnaires in 2009 and 2012, and a sub-set completed objective physical activity monitoring in 2010 and 2012. Commuting was assessed using a validated seven-day travel to work record. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was assessed using the Recent Physical Activity Questionnaire and combined heart rate and movement sensing. We used multivariable multinomial logistic regression models to examine associations between change in time spent in active commuting and tertiles of changes in time spent in recreational and total physical activity. Results: Four hundred sixty-nine participants (67 % female, mean age 44 years) provided valid travel and self-reported physical activity data. Seventy-one participants (54 % female, mean age 45 years) provided valid travel and objectively measured physical activity data. A decrease in active commuting was associated with a greater likelihood of a decrease in self-reported total physical activity (relative risk ratio [RRR] 2.1, 95 % CI 1.1, 4.1). Correspondingly, an increase in active commuting was associated with a borderline significantly greater likelihood of an increase in self-reported total physical activity (RRR 1.8, 95 % CI 1.0, 3.4). No associations were seen between change in time spent in active commuting and change in time spent in either self-reported recreational physical activity or objectively measured physical activity. Conclusions: Changes in active commuting were associated with commensurate changes in total self-reported physical activity and we found no compensatory changes in self-reported recreational physical activity. Promoting active commuting has potential as a public health strategy to increase physical activity. Future longitudinal research would be useful to verify these findings.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2015 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
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    Eva Heinen · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: To strengthen our understanding of the impact of baseline variability in mode choice on the likelihood of travel behaviour change.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2015
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    Oliver Tristan Mytton · Jenna Panter · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Our aim was to explore longitudinal associations of active commuting (cycling to work and walking to work) with physical wellbeing (PCS-8), mental wellbeing (MCS-8) and sickness absence. Method: We used data from the Commuting and Health in Cambridge study (2009 to 2012; n=801) to test associations between: a) maintenance of cycling (or walking) to work over a one year period and indices of wellbeing at the end of that one year period; and b) associations between change in cycling (or walking) to work and change in indices of wellbeing. Linear regression was used for testing associations with PCS-8 and MCS-8, and negative binomial regression for sickness absence. Results: After adjusting for sociodemographic variables, physical activity and physical limitation, those who maintained cycle commuting reported lower sickness absence (0.46, 95% CI: 0.14 to 0.80; equivalent to one less day per year) and higher MCS-8 scores (1.50, 0.10 to 2.10) than those who did not cycle to work. The association for sickness absence persisted after adjustment for baseline sickness absence. No significant associations were observed for PCS-8. Associations between change in cycle commuting and change in indices of wellbeing were not significant. No significant associations were observed for walking. Conclusions: This work provides some evidence of the value of cycle commuting in improving or maintaining the health and wellbeing of adults of working age. This may be important in engaging employers in the promotion of active travel and communicating the benefits of active travel to employees.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Preventive Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Few studies have evaluated the effects of infrastructural improvements to promote walking and cycling. Even fewer have explored how the context and mechanisms of such interventions may interact to produce their outcomes. This mixed-method analysis forms part of the UK iConnect study, which aims to evaluate new walking and cycling routes at three sites - Cardiff, Kenilworth and Southampton. Applying a complementary follow-up approach, we first identified differences in awareness and patterns of use of the infrastructure in survey data from a cohort of adult residents at baseline in spring 2010 (n = 3516) and again one (n = 1849) and two (n = 1510) years later following completion of the infrastructural projects (Analysis 1). We subsequently analysed data from 17 semi-structured interviews with key informants to understand how the new schemes might influence walking and cycling (Analysis 2a). In parallel, we analysed cohort survey data on environmental perceptions (Analysis 2b). We integrated these two datasets to interpret differences across the sites consistent with a theoretical framework that hypothesised that the schemes would improve connectivity and the social environment. After two years, 52% of Cardiff respondents reported using the infrastructure compared with 37% in Kenilworth and 22% in Southampton. Patterns of use did not vary substantially between sites. 17% reported using the new infrastructure for transport, compared with 39% for recreation. Environmental perceptions at baseline were generally unfavourable, with the greatest improvements in Cardiff. Qualitative data revealed that all schemes had a recreational focus to varying extents, that the visibility of schemes to local people might be an important mechanism driving use and that the scale and design of the schemes and the contrast they presented with existing infrastructure may have influenced their use. The dominance of recreational uses may have reflected the specific local goals of some of the projects and the discontinuity of the new infrastructure from a satisfactory network of feeder routes. Greater use in Cardiff may have been driven by the mechanisms of greater visibility and superior design features within the context of an existing environment that was conducive neither to walking or cycling nor to car travel.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
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    ABSTRACT: Food tax-subsidy policies are proposed to hold promise for helping to produce healthier patterns of food purchasing and consumption at population level. Evidence for their effects derives largely from simulation studies that explore the potential effects of untried policies using a mathematical modelling framework. This paper provides a critique first of the nature of the evidence derived from such simulation studies, and second of the challenges of cumulating that evidence to inform public health policy. Effects estimated by simulation studies of food taxes and subsidies can be expected to diverge in potentially important ways from those that would accrue in practice because these models are simplified, typically static, representations of complex adaptive systems. The level of confidence that can be placed in modelled estimates of effects is correspondingly low, and the level of associated uncertainty is high. Moreover, evidence from food tax-subsidy simulation studies cannot meaningfully be cumulated using currently available quantitative evidence synthesis methods, to reduce uncertainty about effects. Simulation studies are critical for the initial phases of an incremental research process, for drawing together diverse evidence and exploring potential longer-term effects. While simulation studies of food taxes and subsidies provide a valuable and necessary input to the formulation of public health policy in this area, they are unlikely to be sufficient, and policy makers should not place excessive reliance on evidence from such studies, either singly or cumulatively. To reflect known and unknown limitations of the models, results of such studies should be interpreted cautiously as tentative projections. Modelling studies should increasingly be integrated with more empirical studies of the effects of food tax and subsidy policies in practice.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Public Health
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    Jenna Panter · Eva Heinen · Roger Mackett · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Walking and cycling bring health and environmental benefits, but there is little robust evidence that changing the built environment promotes these activities in populations. This study evaluated the effects of new transport infrastructure on active commuting and physical activity. Study design: Quasi-experimental analysis nested within a cohort study. Setting/participants: Four hundred and sixty-nine adult commuters, recruited through a predominantly workplace-based strategy, who lived within 30 kilometers of Cambridge, United Kingdom and worked in areas of the city to be served by the new transport infrastructure. Intervention: The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway opened in 2011 and comprised a new bus network and a traffic-free walking and cycling route. Exposure to the intervention was defined using the shortest distance from each participant's home to the busway. Main outcome measures: Change in weekly time spent in active commuting between 2009 and 2012, measured by validated 7-day recall instrument. Secondary outcomes were changes in total weekly time spent walking and cycling and in recreational and overall physical activity, measured using the validated Recent Physical Activity Questionnaire. Data were analyzed in 2014. Results: In multivariable multinomial regression models-adjusted for potential sociodemographic, geographic, health, and workplace confounders; baseline active commuting; and home or work relocation-exposure to the busway was associated with a significantly greater likelihood of an increase in weekly cycle commuting time (relative risk ratio=1.34, 95% CI=1.03, 1.76) and with an increase in overall time spent in active commuting among the least active commuters at baseline (relative risk ratio=1.76, 95% CI=1.16, 2.67). The study found no evidence of changes in recreational or overall physical activity. Conclusions: Providing new sustainable transport infrastructure was effective in promoting an increase in active commuting. These findings provide new evidence to support reconfiguring transport systems as part of public health improvement strategies.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2015 · American journal of preventive medicine
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    Christian Brand · Anna Goodman · David Ogilvie

    Full-text · Dataset · Oct 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Active commuting may help to increase adults' physical activity levels. However, estimates of its energy cost are derived from a small number of studies which are laboratory-based or use self-reported measures. Methods: Adults working in Cambridge (UK) recruited through a predominantly workplace-based strategy wore combined heart rate and movement sensors and global positioning system (GPS) devices for one week, and completed synchronous day-by-day travel diaries in 2010 and 2011. Commuting journeys were delineated using GPS data, and metabolic intensity (standard metabolic equivalents; MET) was derived and compared between journey types using mixed-effects linear regression. Results: 182 commuting journeys were included in the analysis. Median intensity was 1.28 MET for car journeys; 1.67 MET for bus journeys; 4.61 MET for walking journeys; 6.44 MET for cycling journeys; 1.78 MET for journeys made by car in combination with walking; and 2.21 MET for journeys made by car in combination with cycling. The value for journeys made solely by car was significantly lower than those for all other journey types (p<0.04). On average, 20% of the duration of journeys incorporating any active travel (equating to 8min) was spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Conclusions: We have demonstrated how GPS and activity data from a free-living sample can be used simultaneously to provide objective estimates of commuting energy expenditure. On average, incorporating walking or cycling into longer journeys provided over half the weekly recommended activity levels from the commute alone. This may be an efficient way of achieving physical activity guidelines and improving population health.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Preventive Medicine
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    Jenna Panter · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Some studies have assessed the effectiveness of environmental interventions to promote physical activity, but few have examined how such interventions work. We investigated the environmental mechanisms linking an infrastructural intervention with behaviour change. Design Natural experimental study. Setting Three UK municipalities (Southampton, Cardiff and Kenilworth). Participants Adults living within 5 km of new walking and cycling infrastructure. Intervention Construction or improvement of walking and cycling routes. Exposure to the intervention was defined in terms of residential proximity. Outcome measures Questionnaires at baseline and 2-year follow-up assessed perceptions of the supportiveness of the environment, use of the new infrastructure, and walking and cycling behaviours. Analysis proceeded via factor analysis of perceptions of the physical environment (step 1) and regression analysis to identify plausible pathways involving physical and social environmental mediators and refine the intervention theory (step 2) to a final path analysis to test the model (step 3). Results Participants who lived near and used the new routes reported improvements in their perceptions of provision and safety. However, path analysis (step 3, n=967) showed that the effects of the intervention on changes in time spent walking and cycling were largely (90%) explained by a simple causal pathway involving use of the new routes, and other pathways involving changes in environmental cognitions explained only a small proportion of the effect. Conclusions Physical improvement of the environment itself was the key to the effectiveness of the intervention, and seeking to change people's perceptions may be of limited value. Studies of how interventions lead to population behaviour change should complement those concerned with estimating their effects in supporting valid causal inference.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · BMJ Open
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    Anna Goodman · Esther M.F. van Sluijs · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: The ‘Bikeability’ cycle training scheme, a flagship policy of the government in England, aims to give children the skills and confidence to cycle more safely and more often. Little, however, is known about the scheme׳s reach. This paper examined which schools offer Bikeability, and which children participate in cycle training.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015
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    Eva Heinen · Jenna Panter · Roger Mackett · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: New transport infrastructure may promote a shift towards active travel, thereby improving population health. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a major transport infrastructure project on commuters' mode of travel, trip frequency and distance travelled to work. Quasi-experimental analysis nested within a cohort study of 470 adults working in Cambridge, UK. The intervention consisted of the opening of a guided busway with a path for walking and cycling in 2011. Exposure to the intervention was defined as the negative of the square root of the shortest distance from home to busway. The outcome measures were changes in commute mode share and number of commute trips - both based on a seven-day travel-to-work record collected before (2009) and after (2012) the intervention - and change in objective commute distance. The mode share outcomes were changes in the proportions of trips (i) involving any active travel, (ii) involving any public transport, and (iii) made entirely by car. Separate multinomial regression models were estimated adjusting for commute and sociodemographic characteristics, residential settlement size and life events. Proximity to the busway predicted an increased likelihood of a large (>30 %) increase in the share of commute trips involving any active travel (relative risk ratio [RRR] 1.80, 95 % CI 1.27, 2.55) and a large decrease in the share of trips made entirely by car (RRR 2.09, 95 % CI 1.35, 3.21), as well as a lower likelihood of a small (<30 %) reduction in the share of trips involving any active travel (RRR 0.47, 95 % CI 0.28, 0.81). It was not associated with changes in the share of commute trips involving any public transport, the number of commute trips, or commute distance. The new infrastructure promoted an increase in the share of commuting trips involving active travel and a decrease in the share made entirely by car. Further analysis will show the extent to which the changes in commute mode share were translated into an increase in time spent in active commuting and consequent health gain.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
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    ABSTRACT: Changes to the environment that support active travel have the potential to increase population physical activity. The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway is an example of such an intervention that provides new traffic-free infrastructure for walking, cycling and public transport. This qualitative investigation explored the diverse experiences of new transport infrastructure and its impacts on active travel behaviours. Thirty-eight adult participants from the Commuting and Health in Cambridge natural experimental study were purposively selected according to their demographic and travel behaviour change characteristics and invited to participate in semi-structured interviews between February and June 2013. A mixed-method, following-a-thread approach was used to construct two contrasting vignettes (stories) to which the participants were asked to respond as part of the interviews. Inductive thematic qualitative analysis of the interview data was performed with the aid of QSR NVivo8. Perceptions of the busway's attributes were important in shaping responses to it. Some participants rarely considered the new transport infrastructure or described it as unappealing because of its inaccessibility or inconvenient routing. Others located more conveniently for access points experienced the new infrastructure as an attractive travel option. Likewise, the guided buses and adjacent path presented ambiguous spaces which were received in different ways, depending on travel preferences. While new features such as on board internet access or off-road cycling were appreciated, shortcomings such as overcrowded buses or a lack of path lighting were barriers to use. The process of adapting to the environmental change was discussed in terms of planning and trialling new behaviours. The establishment of the busway in commuting patterns appeared to be influenced by whether the anticipated benefits of change were realised. This study examined the diverse responses to an environmental intervention that may help to explain small or conflicting aggregate effects in quantitative outcome evaluation studies. Place and space features, including accessibility, convenience, pleasantness and safety relative to the alternative options were important for the acceptance of the busway. Our findings show how environmental change supporting active travel and public transport can encourage behaviour change for some people in certain circumstances.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
  • Anna Goodman · Esther van Sluijs · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: The centrally-funded cycle training scheme ‘Bikeability’ is a flagship policy of the current government in England. ‘Bikeability’ is targeted at 9-11 year olds and its stated aims include giving children the confidence to cycle more. There is, however, little evidence on the scheme’s effectiveness in achieving this. We therefore examined whether delivering Bikeability is associated with 1) cycling frequency, or 2) independent cycling
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015
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    Adam Martin · Jenna Panter · Marc Suhrcke · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: Active commuting is associated with various health benefits, but little is known about its causal relationship with body mass index (BMI). We used cohort data from three consecutive annual waves of the British Household Panel Survey, a longitudinal study of nationally representative households, in 2004/2005 (n=15 791), 2005/2006 and 2006/2007. Participants selected for the analyses (n=4056) reported their usual main mode of travel to work at each time point. Self-reported height and weight were used to derive BMI at baseline and after 2 years. Multivariable linear regression analyses were used to assess associations between switching to and from active modes of travel (over 1 and 2 years) and change in BMI (over 2 years) and to assess dose-response relationships. After adjustment for socioeconomic and health-related covariates, the first analysis (n=3269) showed that switching from private motor transport to active travel or public transport (n=179) was associated with a significant reduction in BMI compared with continued private motor vehicle use (n=3090; -0.32 kg/m(2), 95% CI -0.60 to -0.05). Larger adjusted effect sizes were associated with switching to active travel (n=109; -0.45 kg/m(2), -0.78 to -0.11), particularly among those who switched within the first year and those with the longest journeys. The second analysis (n=787) showed that switching from active travel or public transport to private motor transport was associated with a significant increase in BMI (0.34 kg/m(2), 0.05 to 0.64). Interventions to enable commuters to switch from private motor transport to more active modes of travel could contribute to reducing population mean BMI. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Journal of epidemiology and community health
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the impact of regulatory action to reduce levels of artificial trans-fatty acids (TFAs) in food. We searched Medline, Embase, ISI Web of Knowledge, and EconLit (January 1980 to December 2012) for studies related to government regulation of food- or diet-related health behaviors from which we extracted the subsample of legislative initiatives to reduce artificial TFAs in food. We screened 38 162 articles and identified 14 studies that examined artificial TFA controls limiting permitted levels or mandating labeling. These measures achieved good compliance, with evidence of appropriate reformulation. Regulations grounded on maximum limits and mandated labeling can lead to reductions in actual and reported TFAs in food and appear to encourage food producers to reformulate their products. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print January 20, 2015: e1-e11. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302372).
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · American Journal of Public Health
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    Eva Heinen · Jenna Panter · Alice Dalton · Andy Jones · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: New transport infrastructure may help promote active travel, thereby contributing to increasing overall physical activity and population health gain. In 2011 a guided busway with a path for walking and cycling was opened in Cambridgeshire, UK. This paper investigates the predictors of walking, cycling and bus use on the busway. Cross-sectional analyses of the final questionnaire wave (2012) of the Commuting and Health in Cambridge cohort study following the opening of the busway. Participants were 453 adult commuters who had not moved home or workplace. Busway use was self-reported and proximity calculated using GIS. Separate multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess predictors of walking, cycling and bus use on the busway. Exposure to the intervention (proximity: the negative square root of the distance from home to busway in kilometres) increased the odds of use for cycling (OR 2.18; 95% CI 1.58 to 3.00), bus travel (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.02) and walking (OR 1.34; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.70). The effect of exposure was strengthened in towns for bus use, and in towns and villages for walking, compared with urban areas. Men were more likely than women to have cycled on the busway, whereas individual socioeconomic characteristics did not predict bus use or walking. New high-quality transport infrastructure attracts users, determined by geographical exposure and spatial contextual factors such as settlement size and availability of parking at work. Future longitudinal analyses will determine effects on overall travel and physical activity behaviour change.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014
  • Oliver T. Mytton · Helen Eyles · David Ogilvie
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    ABSTRACT: Several jurisdictions are now imposing taxes on food and beverages to prevent obesity (and related conditions). Existing evidence concerning their effects comes largely from simulation studies and trials in closed settings, both of which have limitations. Rigorous evaluation of actual taxes may provide richer evidence with greater external validity to support policy making. This article describes existing evaluation studies and outlines an implicit underlying theoretical framework for how taxes are expected to affect health. It then explores three important issues for future studies: selection of an appropriate evaluative perspective (comparing realist and biomedical experimental paradigms); approaches to causal inference; and the challenge of a low signal-to-noise ratio. We argue that evaluation should be informed by a realist perspective as well as making appropriate use of established empirical quasi-experimental approaches to testing causal effects. This should be underpinned by a theoretical framework that acknowledges complexity and the potential diversity of impacts.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014
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    Adam Martin · David Ogilvie · Marc Suhrcke
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    ABSTRACT: Background Existing reviews identify numerous studies of the relationship between urban built environment characteristics and obesity. These reviews do not generally distinguish between cross-sectional observational studies using single equation analytical techniques and other studies that may support more robust causal inferences. More advanced analytical techniques, including the use of instrumental variables and regression discontinuity designs, can help mitigate biases that arise from differences in observable and unobservable characteristics between intervention and control groups, and may represent a realistic alternative to scarcely-used randomised experiments. This review sought first to identify, and second to compare the results of analyses from, studies using more advanced analytical techniques or study designs.Methods In March 2013, studies of the relationship between urban built environment characteristics and obesity were identified that incorporated (i) more advanced analytical techniques specified in recent UK Medical Research Council guidance on evaluating natural experiments, or (ii) other relevant methodological approaches including randomised experiments, structural equation modelling or fixed effects panel data analysis.ResultsTwo randomised experimental studies and twelve observational studies were identified. Within-study comparisons of results, where authors had undertaken at least two analyses using different techniques, indicated that effect sizes were often critically affected by the method employed, and did not support the commonly held view that cross-sectional, single equation analyses systematically overestimate the strength of association.Conclusions Overall, the use of more advanced methods of analysis does not appear necessarily to undermine the observed strength of association between urban built environment characteristics and obesity when compared to more commonly-used cross-sectional, single equation analyses. Given observed differences in the results of studies using different techniques, further consideration should be given to how evidence gathered from studies using different analytical approaches is appraised, compared and aggregated in evidence synthesis.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

Publication Stats

3k Citations
615.99 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012-2015
    • University of Cambridge
      • Cambridge Institute of Public Health
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
    • Zdravotní ústav
      Ostrava, Moravskoslezský, Czech Republic
  • 2010-2013
    • Cambridge Health Alliance
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • Mrc Harwell
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
  • 2008-2013
    • Medical Research Council (UK)
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2008-2012
    • MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2003-2006
    • University of Glasgow
      • MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
      Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom