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Mon Oct 24 07:14:08 SAST 2016

Large-scale study finds drivers are four kilograms heavier than cyclists

AFP Relaxnews | 17 August, 2016 11:33
Choosing cycling as your primary form of transportation is an easy way to incorporate physical activity into your daily life and manage weight.

Image by: ©Xavier Arnau/istock.com

An ongoing European study has revealed that those who drive as their main form of transport are on average heavier than those who cycle.

Researchers from the EU-funded Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches (PASTA) project have so far looked at 11,000 volunteers in seven European cities to study the effect of transport choices on levels of physical activity and health.

The project, led by a team of international experts including Imperial College London and the World Health Organization, asks individuals to provide information on which mode of transport they use to travel around their city, how much time they spend traveling, and their attitudes towards walking and cycling.

Volunteers are also asked to record their height and weight.

The data so far has revealed that those who use cars as their main form of transport are, on average, four kilograms (8.8 lbs) heavier than those who cycle.

Although the team admit that they cannot yet draw conclusions about the cause and effect of their results, they believe the initial findings are "intriguing". The project now aims to recruit an additional 14,000 individuals in the European cities of Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Rome, Vienna, Zurich and Orebro in Sweden, in order to research further.

With obesity on the rise at an alarming rate, the link between physical inactivity and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease has already been well-documented.

The researchers believe that their results could provide insight on how people make their transport decisions and how cities can encourage individuals to choose walking and cycling over driving in an effort to increase levels of physical activity.

Dr Audrey de Nazelle from Imperial College London also commented on the results: "If people can integrate this into their daily lives, such as going to work or going shopping, then it means you don't have to make special time commitments and it's more affordable for everybody. Getting people to walk and bike as part of their daily transport modes is really an ideal solution to try to tackle this epidemic of physical inactivity."

To take part in the research go to survey.pastaproject.eu.


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