A study by two US academics has concluded (all right, re-concluded. Okay, let's make that stated the bleedin' obvious) that countries whose populations use more acive forms of transportation are thinner than countries that don't.
The study by the University of Tennessee's David Bassett and John Pucher of Rutgers, shows a pretty much irrefutably strong correlation between the way a country gets around and the weight of its population just in case anyone still harboured the fond thought that driving might be slimming just because Lewis Hamilton is invisible side on.
Bassett and Pucher studied the modes of transportation of a number of European countries, the US, Canada, and Australia. The numbers stack up like this:
Latvia: 67% of the population uses active transportation, 14% obese
Sweden: 62% active transportation, 9% obese
Netherlands: 52% active transportation, 11% obes
Canada: 19% active transportation, 23% obese
Australia: 14% active transportation, 21% obese
United States: 12% active transportation, <25% obese
According to the study's figures the average European walks 237 miles and cycles 116 miles per year, by comparison in the US they walk 87 miles and cycle 24. In fat burning terms that translates to five to nine pounds per year for Europeans and two pounds for Americans. To underline their point Bassett and Pucher point out that the Swiss walk an average of 9,700 steps per day, compared with 7,200 for the Japanese, and 5,900 for residents of South Carolina, USA. And, as we're sure you've guessed, even with their artery clogging diet Toblerone and fondue diet (okay, they do eat muesli too) the Swiss are the skinniest in that particular pack.
No word on where the Brits came in the fat league table, you have to pay for that sort of top line data and we didn't fancy shelling out from the road.cc cake fund to be told that we're in front of Canada (in a good way), but not by much.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.