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Travelling by car induces weight gain: study

Update Date: Mar 18, 2016 12:57 PM EDT
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A new survey confirmed that car use results in more weight gain than in using a different mode of travelling.

According to BBC, the study was based on the measurements and survey of 150,000 adults in the United Kingdom who were at least 40 years old.

Those who use bicycles were found to be the trimmest while those who walk towards their intended destinations came in second.

Commuters who rely on public transportation like buses or trains were also found to be leaner than those who utilize cars as their mode of travelling. For both cycling and walking, greater travelling distances were associated with greater reductions in percentage body fat. Despite including such factors as leisure-time, exercise, diet and occupation, the trend remained the same.

Study author Dr Ellen Flint, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, lamented that despite the common knowledge that physical activity can help prevent obesity, yet, two thirds of the UK population fail to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity.

She added that the study revealed that using physical exertion in commuting, even if it's just walking to a bus stop or cycling a short distance, burns more body fat than driving to work.

Justin Varney, deputy director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, noted that walking and cycling are some of the easiest forms of physical activity that maybe incorporated into their daily routine.

One of the earlier studies on the topic, that conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in New South Wales, Australia in 2003, revealed the same finding-that driving to work was associated with being overweight or obese. However, NCBI cautioned that the association found in their study between driving to work and overweight and obesity warrants further investigation.

It added that if it was proven that the relationship is causal, then walking, cycling and public transport should form a key component of global obesity prevention efforts. 

The new survey raises further awareness that car use reduces physical activity that leads to weight gain. 

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