17 Mar, 2016

Commuters who shun car travel keep slimmer, study concludes

BBC News | 17 March 2016

People who cycle, walk or catch the train or bus to work keep more weight off than commuters who travel by car, a large UK study has found.

The results come from 150,000 UK adults aged 40 or older who agreed to be measured and weighed and fill in a survey about their typical journey to and from work.

Cycling came out as the best activity for staying trim, followed by walking.

But even those who used public transport were leaner than car users.

The authors of the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology study say the findings show even a little physical activity is better than nothing at all.

They reached their conclusions by comparing the bodyweights and lifestyles of the 72,999 men and 83,667 women in their study.

Even when they factored in differences such as leisure-time, exercise, diet and occupation, the trend between commute method and bodyweight remained.

And for both cycling and walking, greater travelling distances were associated with greater reductions in percentage body fat.

By their calculations, an “average” height man would weigh around 5kg (11lbs) less if he were to cycle rather than drive to work each day.

Likewise, the average height woman would weigh 4.4kg (9.7lbs) less.

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