Research/studies Worker health and wellness

Walking, biking to work can help commuters lose weight: study


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Norwich, England – Walking, bicycling or taking public transportation to work can aid weight loss, according to research from the University of East Anglia.

Researchers studied data from 4,000 adults in the British Household Panel Survey three times from 2004 to 2007. Participants indicated their typical form of transportation for their daily commute, as well as their height and weight.

Workers who switched from driving to walking, bicycling or taking public transportation had a significant average reduction in body mass index equal to about 2.2 pounds per person, after taking into account other factors that could lead to weight loss, according to a press release.

The decrease was larger for longer commutes. When the commute was more than 10 minutes, weight loss was about 4.4 pounds. Workers with commutes longer than 30 minutes lost about 15.4 pounds.

In contrast, participants who switched from walking, bicycling or taking public transportation to commuting in a car had an average weight gain of about 2.2 pounds.

“Combined with other potential health, economic, and environmental benefits associated with walking, cycling and public transport, these findings add to the case for interventions to promote the uptake of these more sustainable forms of transport,” the researchers wrote in the study.

The study was published online May 7 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.