Driving to work is killing you

Being obese combined with car commuting has been associated with a 32% higher risk of premature death, reports a study out of Glasgow.

Scientists at the British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Center examined data from more than 160,000 people who claimed they commuted by car, on foot, or by bicycle in the U.K. Biobank survey.

The survey participants have been followed up for 5 years, with results showing a 32% higher risk of death, a doubling of risk of heart disease mortality and a 59% increase in risk non-fatal heart diseases for obese people who also commuted by car. 

In contrast, obese people who reported as active commuters had an average risk of death similar to regular weight active commuters, which suggested to researchers that cycling or walking to and from work could reduce the detrimental effect of obesity. 

This isn't new news. A similar 2017 analysis of over 260,000 U.K Biobank adults found that those who reported cycling to and from work compared to those using cars or public transport had a 52% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality on average. 

The more recent study concluded with a powerful message:

"Regardless of your body weight, being physically active could partly reduce the excess risk associated with obesity. However, compared to other forms of physical activity – such as gyms and exercises classes – active commuting can be implemented and fitted within our daily routines, often with no additional cost, but at the same time could increase our overall physical activity levels and therefore help to meet the current physical activity recommendations for health.”

The age range for the data analysis was 37 to 73 years old, and 50.8% were women. 

In Australia, the latest National Health Survey showed that two thirds (67%) of Australian adults are overweight or obese. 

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