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How are we going? Study of active commuting in Brazil.

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Thiago Hérick de Sá
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Saúde Pública
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Carlos Augusto Monteiro; Aluisio Jardim Dornellas de Barros; Ciro Biderman; Patrícia Constante Jaime; Rodrigo Siqueira Reis
Advisor: Carlos Augusto Monteiro

Introduction: Active commuting is closely related to current public health issues and its promotion can contribute to improvements in urban mobility, health and environmental protection. However, research on the subject is largely concentrated in high-income countries. This thesis aims to expand research on active commuting in Brazil. Objectives: i) To describe the frequency, distribution and time trend of active commuting indicators in Brazilian populations; ii) To assess the impact of travel pattern changes on active commuting, sedentary time and health outcomes in Brazilian populations. Methods: The thesis consists of seven manuscripts. The first manuscript is a systematic review of studies with information on active commuting practice in Latin America and the Caribbean; the second describes nationally representative estimates about active commuting to work in Brazil; the third and fourth describe active commuting frequency and time trends in São Paulo metropolitan area (cyclists and schoolchildren); the fifth discusses the issue of urban mobility and the right to the city of São Paulo; the sixth and seventh assess the impact of changes in São Paulo travel pattern on active commuting, non-active commuting and total travel time as well on air pollution and population health. Results: The median prevalence of active commuting found in Brazilian settings was 12 per cent , ranging from 5.1 per cent in Palmas (Tocantins) to 58.9 per cent in Rio Claro (Sao Paulo) (Manuscript 1). One-third of men and women walk or cycle for commuting to work in Brazil. In both sexes, this proportion decreases with increasing income and education and is higher among younger people, those living in rural areas, and in the Northeast. In all Brazilian metropolitan areas studies, people in the lowest quintile of income had a higher frequency of active commuting (Manuscript 2). Between 2007 and 2012, we observed a decreasing number of cyclists in São Paulo and marked sex differences in the proportion of cyclists (9.7 per thousand inhabitants for men versus 1.4 per thousand inhabitants for women in 2012) (Manuscript 3). We also found a decrease in the proportion of children who are actively commuting to school between 1997 and 2012 (Manuscript 4). The epidemiological scenario of active commuting in Brazil is the result of a historical dispute for the right to the city, with repercussions for human mobility transition and people\'s health and quality of life, as can be seen in the case of São Paulo (Manuscript 5). Building a more inclusive São Paulo, with shorter distances and more walking and cycling, would lead to substantial reductions of total and sedentary commuting time, without reducing active commuting time (Manuscript 6). It would also result in improvements for peoples health, particularly due to the increasing physical activity and decreasing air pollution (Manuscript 7). Conclusions: Active commuting in Brazil shows marked regional and socioeconomic contrasts. Overall, this practice has decreased, which should contribute negatively to the health of Brazilians. The promotion of more inclusive and compact cities, favoring active travel, can help reverse this worrying trend. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/08565-4 - How are we going? the study of active commuting in Brazil
Grantee:Thiago Hérick de Sá
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate