Car drivers are 4kg heavier than cyclists – new study

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The appropriately named PASTA project – an EU-funded initiative to promote more healthy transport solutions, has revealed that people who drive cars as their main form of transport are on average 4kg heavier than those who cycle.

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The study monitored 11,000 volunteers in seven European cities and asked how they move around the city, which mode of transport they use, and how much time they spend travelling. Researchers asked volunteers to record their height, weight, and to provide information about their attitudes towards walking and bicycling and whether they experienced any accidents recently.

An analysis of the data shows that those people who drove cars were on average 4 kilograms heavier than those who cycled.

The PASTA project – an acronym for Physical Activity Through Sustainable Transport Approaches  – is led by an international group of experts from the fields of health, physical activity, transport modelling, safety and air quality, including the World Health Organisation. The project is studying how different forms of transport relate to levels of physical activity, and consequently people’s health. It aims to connect transport and health by promoting active mobility in cities (i.e. walking and cycling), including in combination with public transport use, as an innovative way of integrating physical activity into our everyday lives.

Commenting on the study, Dr Adrian Davis, a UK transport and health expert and member of PASTA’s advisory board, said: “People who are physically inactive are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cancer, stroke, heart attacks, as well as becoming overweight. Our research shows that factors like urban design, how we move in cities, the use of cars, bikes or walking could play an important role in determining the level of people’s daily physical activity.

“Being more active can make you healthier, save you money and improve your life. Getting your recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day by simply integrating it into your travel routine is time efficient in increasingly busy lives . Instead of going to the gym, for example, think about cycling to work.”

The PASTA project is looking for more volunteers to take part in its research to help understand the relationship between transport and health. Get involved by visiting www. pastaproject.eu