Want to keep fit? Cycle. Want to keep fat? Drive.

Carlton Reid
Want to keep fit? Cycle. Want to keep fat? Drive.

People who drive cars as their main form of transport are, on average, substantially heavier than those who cycle, a new study says.

The EU-funded Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches project – PASTA for short – is led by an international group of experts, including the World Health Organization. It is a long-term, ongoing study on how different forms of transport relate to levels of physical activity and health. 

PASTA researchers monitored 11,000 volunteers in seven European cities and asked how they moved around the city and how much time they spend travelling.

The project also asked volunteers to record their height, weight, and to provide information about their attitudes towards walking and bicycling.

An analysis of the data shows that those people who drove cars were on average four kilograms heavier than those who cycled. 

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Dr Adrian Davis, a UK transport and health expert and member of PASTA’s advisory board, said:

“People who are physically inactive are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cancer, stroke, heart attacks, as well as becoming overweight. Our research shows that factors like urban design, how we move in cities, the use of cars, bikes or walking could play an important role in determining the level of people’s daily physical activity."

The Pasta Project is looking for more volunteers to take part in its research to help understand the relationship between transport and health.

Elisabeth Raser, Project leader from the BOKU institute in Vienna, said: “This is a great opportunity to participate in a pan-European project, where the results will help to improve urban design, mobility and health in European cities.

 

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