The University of East Anglia has finally answered the tricky question of whether or not exercise helps burn fat and turns out it's true!
Contrary to this now suspended report, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, East Anglia Centre for Diet and Activity Research students found that switching from a car to cycling or walking was associated with an average reduction in BMI of 0.32kg/M2. After taking into account other influential factors this is equivalent to a difference of around 1kg a person, on average.
Adam Martin, a student who worked on the study, said: "This might sound like a relatively small proportion of their total weight, but we also found that the longer the commute, the stronger the association. For those with a commute of more than 30 minutes, there was an average reduction of 2.25 BMI units, or around 7 kg (over one stone) for the average person.”
Philip Insall, Director of Health for Sustrans commented: “With one in six deaths being linked to physical inactivity, lack of exercise is as dangerous as smoking.”
“This is why the new Government needs to urgently invest in walking and cycling. Making our roads safer so that people feel able to get out of their cars and onto bikes will have a radical impact on obesity rates. Creating a happier, healthier population which places less strain on an already stretched NHS.”
“We know that people who walk and cycle short trips have very much lower rates of disease and premature death. So it’s vital to invest in infrastructure that allows people to walk and cycle in safety.”
The research team, from UEA, the University of Cambridge and the University of York, based their findings on the responses of more than 4,000 adults in three annual waves of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) collected between 2004 and 2007.
The University's report can be found in full here.