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Walking to Work Reduces Diabetes, High Blood Pressure Risk

Update Date: Aug 06, 2013 09:23 AM EDT

Walking to work may significantly decrease a person's risk of diabetes, a new study suggests.

Scientists found that people who walk to work are about 40 percent less likely to have diabetes than those who drive to work.

The study involved data from 20,000 people across the UK.  Researchers wanted to examine how various health indicators relate to how people get to work.

Researchers found that biking, walking and using public transport were all associated with lower risk of being overweight than driving or taking a taxi.  Those who walked to work were also 17 percent less likely than people who drive to have high blood pressure, and cyclists were about half as likely to have diabetes as drivers.

The study also found that 19 percent of adults who use private transport like cars, motorcycles or taxis to get to work were obese compared to 15 percent of those who walked and 13 percent of those who biked to work.  

"This study highlights that building physical activity into the daily routine by walking, cycling or using public transport to get to work is good for personal health," researcher Anthony Laverty, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said in a news release.

Researchers said the findings are important because high blood pressure, diabetes and being overweight are all major risk factors for heart and cardiovascular disease. They suggest that people reduce their risk of serious health problems by avoiding using a car.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

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