Walking and Cycling to Health

A new study authored by John Pucher, Ph.D. and three other researchers was published this week in the American Journal of Public Health. The study sought to determine the relationship between active transportation and rates of obesity and diabetes. From the abstract:

Objectives. We sought to determine the magnitude, direction, and statistical significance of the relationship between active travel and rates of physical activity, obesity, and diabetes.

Methods. We examined aggregate cross-sectional health and travel data for 14 countries, all 50 US states, and 47 of the 50 largest US cities through graphical, correlation, and bivariate regression analysis on the country, state, and city levels.

Results. At all 3 geographic levels, we found statistically significant negative relationships between active travel and self-reported obesity. At the state and city levels, we found statistically significant positive relationships between active travel and physical activity and statistically significant negative relationships between active travel and diabetes.

Conclusions. Together with many other studies, our analysis provides evidence of the population-level health benefits of active travel. Policies on transport, land-use, and urban development should be designed to encourage walking and cycling for daily travel.

The results aren’t surprising, but the conclusions are important because the researchers are recommending policies that encourage active transportation.

Walking and Cycling to Health: A Comparative Analysis of City, State, and International Data

4 Responses to “Walking and Cycling to Health”

  • Active Commuting Good for You « Chris Sussmann says:

    […] the blogoshere this morning, I may have found evidence of what we all know is true. The folks at ecovelo.org and dc.streetsblog.org have articles discussing the findings that where published in the American […]

  • Warren says:

    Take the escalator for example in public transport areas. Look at how many people use them instead of just walking up 2-3 flights of stairs.
    People at work can’t believe I cycle to work, yeah it’s a really long distance, 5kms (3miles) each way. I wish it was a little longer most days.

  • Pete says:

    It’s kind of sad that this is “research” when it seems self evident! My commute is a 3 mile bike ride, 45 mile train ride, and 1.5 mile walk, each way. It sure beats going to the gym! I’ve lost 20 lbs since switching from the drive-train-subway commute, and it takes no more time and is much more fun.
    Thanks for posting this Alan.

  • Bike Provo - Promoting Bicycle Culture in the Valley says:

    […] to function there were two great advocacy articles that have been put out. One that comes by way of EcoVelo is a scientific study that shows the health benefits of active transportation. I think that we all […]

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