DIABETES
August 28, 2013

How to Get to Work

Those who drive to work have a far higher risk of diabetes than those who walk or bike. Even a bus is better.

You dread your workplace commute: bumper-to bumper traffic, blaring horns, and an ominous weather forecast. You may want to consider walking, biking or using public transportation, not just for your mental health, but your physical well-being as well.

Researchers in the United Kingdom (UK) have found that people who walk to work had a 40 percent lower risk of diabetes than those who drive. They also found that biking, walking, and using public transportation were all associated with a lower risk of being overweight than driving or taking a taxi.

In addition, people who walk to work were 17 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those who drive. Bicycle riders were about half as likely as drivers to have diabetes .

Among working-age adults who use private transportation such as cars, motorcycles, or taxis to get to work, 19 percent were obese, compared to 15 per cent of those who walked and 13 per cent of those who rode their bike to work.

Researchers used data from a survey of 20,000 people across the UK to look at the relationship between cardiovascular disease risk factors such as diabetes and obesity and the means by which people get to work. Walking, biking, or using public transportation to get to work all reduced the risk of serious health events such as heart attacks.

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

Among working-age adults who use private transportation such as cars, motorcycles, or taxis to get to work, 19 percent were obese, compared to 15 per cent of those who walked and 13 per cent of those who rode their bike to work.

The investigators also found a wide variation in the modes of transportation preferred (or available) in different parts of the UK. Among residents of London, 52 percent used public transportation versus five per cent in Northern Ireland.

“The variations between regions suggest that infrastructure and investment in public transportation, walking, and cycling can play a large role in encouraging healthy lives, and that encouraging people out of the car can be good for them as well as the environment,” said Laverty.

The study is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
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