A study from Japan suggests that people who commute by public transport may be healthier than those who ride a bike to work, being less likely to be overweight or to have diabetes or high blood pressure.
Researchers at Osaka’s Moriguchi City Health Examination Centre examined the commuting habits of almost 6,000 people.
They found that those who commute by train or bus were 44 per cent less likely to be obese than car drivers. Compared to motorists, public transport users were 27 per cent less likely to have high blood pressure and 34 per cent less likely to have diabetes.
The surprising finding however was that bus and train users were also in better health than those who commute by pedal power, with lower incidence of being overweight or having diabetes or high blood pressure.
One potential explanation, according to the researchers, is that because bus or train travel isn’t typically door to door, people who commute using those modes may get more exercise than cyclists – or at least those who ride short distances to work – since they have to walk to or from the station or bus stop.
- Cycling could help reduce £10bn annual diabetes bill say MPs
The study’s lead author, Dr Hisako Tsuji, said: "If it takes longer than 20 minutes one-way to commute by walking or cycling, many people seem to take public transportation or a car in urban areas of Japan.
"People should consider taking public transportation instead of a car, as a part of daily, regular exercise. It may be useful for healthcare providers to ask patients about how they commute."
According to the research, men were more likely to drive a car to work, while women were more likely to use public transport or to walk or cycle.
The study’s authors however were unable to determine whether taking public transport in itself had a positive impact on health, or whether it was the case that people using buses or trains were healthier in the first place.
They also noted that with lower levels of obesity in Japan, the results if the study might bot be directly applicable to western countries.
– New study confirms weight loss effect of commuting by bike
Earlier this year, London-based cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, in an editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, said it was a “myth” that exercise could help obese people lose weight.
Instead, he blamed poor diet rather than lack of exercise as being behind the rise in prevalence of obesity, and said people needing to lose weight should be encouraged to eat more healthily.
– Value of exercise in fighting obesity a "myth" claim experts
However, Professor Mark Baker from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, which sets guidelines for health in England and Wales, said it was "idiotic" to downplay the value of exercise.
I also agree.
The large majority of posts don't make any reference to people living their lives for themselves, and many go out of their way to note the hard...
Er. No. I don't think I'll chance it.
The Expanse is superb - hard sci-fi that has realistic space battles. The first few episodes suffer from poor sound mixing, but it gets better.
Friends of Woodhouse Moor are hardly representative of the local population. They are a fringe group made up from few sad busy bodies. If they want...
Sprint tomorrow...why not eh?!
I really want to like Rapha shorts but can't get on with the seam/split in the middle of the chamois....
Still makes me laugh at the complaints about Harrogate. Let's look at the town today. More and more shops closing in tbe centre. The road...
I very much doubt that. Time will tell...
Will this helmet buck the trend and finally prove to be a success story in the broad yet largely unsuccessful 'cycling safety products featuring...