Interrelationships of physical activity in different domains: Evidence from the Geographic Research on Wellbeing (GROW) study

Rebecca E. Lee, Elizabeth Lorenzo, Katherine Heck, Harold W. Kohl, Catherine Cubbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Research has rarely distinguished between non-work (NW) and work (W) active transport (AT) or investigated relationships to other domains of physical activity ([PA], like leisure time [LTPA] or work [WPA]). We investigated correlates of AT by employment status, accounting for LTPA and WPA, in a population-based sample of California mothers (N=2906) in the Geographic Research on Wellbeing (GROW) study (2012–2013). AT was measured by the National Household Travel Survey. LTPA was measured using the Stanford Leisure-Time Activity Categorical Item. WPA was measured with the Stanford Brief Activity Survey. Most employed mothers (53%) worked in sedentary jobs, and few (<10%) used NWAT or WAT. Over 20% of unemployed mothers used NWAT, although LTPA levels were similar to employed mothers. Multiple regression models found employed and unemployed with low education and income, and unemployed African American or Latina immigrant mothers had higher odds of using NWAT. Younger employed and unemployed mothers, and unemployed who had ≥4 children or had “light” LTPA had lower odds of using NWAT. Multiple regression models demonstrated that low education or income employed mothers, African American mothers, those who worked part time, and those with relatively low LTPA had higher odds of using WAT, while younger women had lower odds of using WAT, compared with reference groups (ps<0.05). WPA was associated with WAT in unadjusted models, but not in adjusted models. Different AT patterns were seen for employed vs unemployed women, but women who used AT did so for most trips. LTPA was associated with NWAT among unemployed mothers and with WAT among employed mothers. Most women were underactive across all domains, suggesting no compensatory effect of PA done in one domain reducing PA done in another domain, with few meeting minimal guidelines. Policy and practice strategies should support infrastructure to encourage a variety of domains of PA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-547
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Active commuting
  • Bicycling
  • Locomotion
  • Mothers
  • Motor activity
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Transportation
  • Pollution
  • Safety Research
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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