From 2010 to 2013 AustCycle implemented a community-based national adult cycle training program across Australia funded by federal, state and local governments, workplaces and individuals. A primary aim for Commonwealth Health Department funding was reduction of risk factors for chronic disease. Participants provided their demographic, cycling behavior data along with height and weight when registering with the program (n=4145), and provided feedback on the program immediately afterwards (n=2250). A 10% sample of participants who provided height and weight data at registration were contacted at three months (n=423) period, and then 12 months (n=125) and physical activity, cycling behavior and weight data were collected. Feedback was extremely positive, with over 91% of participants highly rating their AustCycle experience. There were statistically significant improvements in cycling skills and confidence at three months, and small but statistically significant reductions in weight and body mass index (BMI) at three and 12 months among a sub-group of participants able to be contacted. There was a statistically significant association between lower BMI and total minutes cycled in the past week at the three month follow-up, after adjustment for age, sex and other physical activity, although there was likely to have been self-selection bias for this reporting. Although there are limitations to the methodology, cycling skills programs can increase cycling among participants and appear to have the potential to reduce an important chronic disease risk factor in the community.
- Body mass index
- Physical activity