Cycle to stay fit

Encouraging people to ride a cycle to work may not only help cities tackle air pollution, but also reduce obesity in urban populations, a study has found.

Researchers from Hasselt University in Belgium and Imperial College London in the UK suggests that daily cyclists weigh less than their non-active counterparts.

The study, also found that riding an electric bike (e-bike) is associated with a higher (body mass index)BMI as compared to regular cyclists.

In ascending order, cyclists have the lowest BMI, then walkers, public transport users, motorcyclists, users of an electric bike, and finally car drivers, who have the highest BMI.

Promoting active travel in cities may therefore provide an opportunity to fight the obesity epidemic, as well as tackle air pollution.

“Travel by car contributes to obesity and also air pollution. In contrast, bikes burn fat and don’t release pollution,” said Audrey de Nazelle, from Imperial College London.

“As well as promoting better health, cities that encourage cycling are giving themselves a better chance of meeting air quality objectives,” she said.

The team also found that people who cycle at least occasionally to go to work or to run errands maintained their weight. “In this way, cycling prevents overweight people from gaining additional weight and it prevents those who are of normal weight from becoming overweight or obese,” said Evi Dons from Hasselt University. PTI

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