Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Link between walking, cycling and health

Date:
August 20, 2010
Source:
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Summary:
Want a slimmer, healthier community? Try building more sidewalks, crosswalks and bike paths. Communities with more walkers and cyclists are healthier than those where people must rely on cars to get around, according to new research.

Want a slimmer, healthier community? Try building more sidewalks, crosswalks and bike paths.

A study authored by Professor David Bassett Jr. from the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and three other researchers was published August 19 in the American Journal of Public Health, concluding that communities with more walkers and cyclists are healthier than those where people must rely on cars to get around.

John Pucher of Rutgers University was the lead researcher on the project. Ralph Buehler of Virginia Tech and Dr. Andrew Dannenberg of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborated on the project.

The researchers analyzed city- and state-level data from the United States and international data from 15 countries to study the relationship between "active travel" -- bicycling or walking rather than driving -- and physical activity, obesity and diabetes.

The results showed that more than half of the differences in obesity rates among countries is linked to walking and cycling rates. In addition, about 30 percent of the difference in obesity rates among states and cities is linked to walking and cycling rates.

Bassett said this study is part of the mounting evidence that active travel has significant health benefits.

"Perhaps the greatest strength of our analysis was that it showed that the relationship between active travel and health was discernible at three different geographic levels: international, state and city," the study says.

The study also reinforces the need for U.S. cities to encourage more walking and cycling for daily travel by providing safe, convenient and attractive infrastructure, such as sidewalks, crosswalks, bike paths and lanes, and intersection modifications that protect pedestrians and cyclists.

"A growing body of evidence suggests that differences in the built environment for physical activity (e.g., infrastructure for walking and cycling, availability of public transit, street connectivity, housing density and mixed land use) influence the likelihood that people will use active transport for their daily travel," the study says. "People who live in areas that are more conducive to walking and cycling are more likely to engage in these forms of active transport."

The researchers also suggest that infrastructure improvements should be combined with restrictions on car use, such as car-free zones, traffic calming in residential neighborhoods, reductions in motor vehicle speeds, and limited and more expensive car parking.

"Moreover, land-use policies should foster compact, mixed-use developments that generate shorter trip distances that are more suitable for walking and biking," they wrote.

Overall, the U.S. doesn't measure up well.

"European countries with high rates of walking and cycling have less obesity than do Australia and countries in North America that are highly car-dependent," the authors wrote.

The relationship between active travel and health seems clear even when you look at various places in the U.S.

Comparing all 50 states and 47 of the 50 largest American cities, the researchers found that states with higher rates of walking and cycling had a higher percentage of adults who achieved recommended levels of physical activity, a lower percentage of adults who are obese, and a lower percentage of adults with diabetes.

The study notes that there have been large increases in obesity rates over the past 30 years. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million adults are obese, putting them at increased risk for diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, gout, gallstones, fatty liver and some cancers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pucher J, et al. Walking and cycling to health: a comparison of recent evidence from city, state, and international studies. Am J Public Health, 100(10), 2010

Cite This Page:

University of Tennessee at Knoxville. "Link between walking, cycling and health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100819162633.htm>.
University of Tennessee at Knoxville. (2010, August 20). Link between walking, cycling and health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100819162633.htm
University of Tennessee at Knoxville. "Link between walking, cycling and health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100819162633.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
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