Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bicycling, brisk walking help women control weight; Researchers call for more bike-friendly environments to combat obesity

Date:
July 4, 2010
Source:
Harvard School of Public Health
Summary:
Premenopausal women who make even small increases in the amount of time they spend bicycling or walking briskly every day decrease their risk of gaining weight, according to a new study.

Premenopausal women who make even small increases in the amount of time they spend bicycling or walking briskly every day decrease their risk of gaining weight, according to a new study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

The study appears in the June 28, 2010 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

For premenopausal women of any weight, riding a bicycle was effective in helping to maintain weight, and overweight and obese women appeared to benefit the most. The researchers found that among women who did not originally bicycle in 1989 but bicycled in 2005, even a small increase in bicycling time -- as little as five minutes each day -- helped to control weight. Among the walkers who had increased their daily activity by an average of 30 min/day over the years, only those who walked briskly (≥3 mph) were able to control their weight. Walking slowly (<3 mph) had no effect.

The results come from an examination of 18,414 premenopausal women, free from chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular disease, participating in the Brigham and Women's Hospital-based Nurses' Health Study II. This is an ongoing study in which participants respond to a questionnaire about their medical history, lifestyle and health-related behaviors every two years. In 1989 and 2005, participants reported on time spent engaging the previous year in various recreational activities.

Study results showed that women in the study gained an average of 9.3 kilograms (20.5 pounds) over the 16-year period. Even though women gain weight as they age, normal-weight women who were bicycling more than four hours a week in 2005, irrespective of their physical activity level in 1989, were 26% times less likely to gain more than five percent of their initial body weight. Overweight and obese women who were bicycling just two or three hours a week were 56% times less likely to gain weight.

According to the authors, it is the first study to look at the relationship between bicycling and weight control among women.

"This study shows that more bicycling predicts less weight gain," said Rania Mekary, research associate in the HSPH Department of Nutrition.

"Small daily increments in bicycling helped women control their weight. But the more time women spent bicycling, the better. Women with excess weight appeared to benefit the most. This is encouraging for women with weight problems because they could substitute bicycling for slow walking or car driving," said Mekary.

In the U.S., 66% of adults are overweight or obese, 16% of children and adolescents are overweight, and 34% of children and adolescents are at risk of becoming overweight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that every adult accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week to prevent obesity and improve health.

"Our study provides evidence that to combat obesity, the U.S. needs to have policies that not only endorse design guidelines for sidewalks, but also for separate and comfortable places to bicycle, such as cycle tracks between sidewalks and parked cars," said Anne Lusk, research fellow in the HSPH Department of Nutrition.

When promoting physical activity to their patients, the authors encourage physicians to prescribe brisk walking, rather than just walking, but also bicycling. "Bicycling may be more comfortable than brisk walking, especially for overweight women," said Lusk.

Walter Willet, Chair of the HSPH Department of Nutrition, was senior author of the study.

Lusk is supported by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes for Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Mekary is supported by the National Institutes for Health.

"Bicycle Riding, Walking, and Weight Gain in Premenopausal Women," Anne C. Lusk, Rania A. Mekary, Diane Feskanich, Walter C. Willett, Archives of Internal Medicine, June 28, 2010, vol. 170, no. 12.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anne C. Lusk; Rania A. Mekary; Diane Feskanich; Walter C. Willett. Bicycle Riding, Walking, and Weight Gain in Premenopausal Women. Arch Intern Med, 2010; 170 (12): 1050-1056 [link]

Cite This Page:

Harvard School of Public Health. "Bicycling, brisk walking help women control weight; Researchers call for more bike-friendly environments to combat obesity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100628161113.htm>.
Harvard School of Public Health. (2010, July 4). Bicycling, brisk walking help women control weight; Researchers call for more bike-friendly environments to combat obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100628161113.htm
Harvard School of Public Health. "Bicycling, brisk walking help women control weight; Researchers call for more bike-friendly environments to combat obesity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100628161113.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins