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A Benefit of Taking Mass Transit, Walking, or Bicycling to Work

Makes sense that not driving to work in a car, but using mass transit (public transport), cycling, or walking to work results in lower body mass index (BMI) and body fat. They're moving more! From Science Daily:

Public transport, walking and cycling to work are all associated with reductions in body fat for adults in mid-life

Adults who commute to work via cycling or walking have lower body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI) measures in mid-life compared to adults who commute via car, according to a new study incThe Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal. Even people who commute via public transport also showed reductions in BMI and percentage body fat compared with those who commuted only by car. This suggests that even the incidental physical activity involved in public transport journeys may be important.

The study looked at data from over 150000 individuals from the UK Biobank data set, a large, observational study of 500000 individuals aged between 40 and 69 in the UK. The study is the largest to date to analyse the health benefits of active transport.

The strongest associations were seen for adults who commuted via bicycle, compared to those who commute via car. For the average man in the sample (age 53 years; height 176.7cm; weight 85.9kg), cycling to work rather than driving was associated with a weight difference of 5kg or 11lbs (BMI difference 1.71 kg/m2). For the average woman in the sample (age 52 years; height 163.6cm; weight 70.6kg), the weight difference was 4.4kg or 9.7lbs (BMI difference 1.65 kg/m2). After cycling, walking to work was associated with the greatest reduction in BMI and percentage body fat, compared to car-users (BMI difference 0.98 kg/m2 for men; 0.80 kg/m2 for women). For both cycling and walking, greater travelling distances were associated with greater reductions in BMI and percentage body fat.

Commuters who only used public transport also had lower BMI compared to car-users (BMI difference of 0.70kg/m2 for men), as did commuters who combined public transport with other active methods (BMI difference 1.00 kg/m2 for men; 0.67 kg/m2 for women). The effect of public transport on BMI was slightly greater than for commuters who combined car use with other active methods (BMI difference 0.56 kg/m2 for men). The link between active commuting and BMI was independent of other factors such as income, area deprivation, urban or rural residence, education, alcohol intake, smoking, general physical activity and overall health and disability.

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