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Promoting cycling in cities could tackle obesity

Press Trust of India  |  London 

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

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

The study, published in the journal Environment International, 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.

By following over 2,000 urban dwellers over time, the team found that men who switch from car driving to for their lose on average 0.75 kg of weight, with an average decrease in BMI of 0.24. For women, this was a little bit less.

Promoting in cities may therefore provide an opportunity to fight the epidemic, as well as tackle air

"Travel by car contributes to and also air In contrast, bikes burn fat and don't release pollution," said Audrey de Nazelle, from London.

"As well as promoting better health, cities that encourage 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, 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

The study followed people over time, providing a more concrete link between cycling and BMI than studies that just survey people at one point in time.

It also meant the results were not skewed by only taking into account people who were already cyclists, as someone of a lower weight is more likely to cycle in the first place.

By going back to the same people as they took up cycling, the researchers could gauge the true effect on the people's and BMI.

The study focused on travelling for daily tasks such as commuting to work, running errands, or picking up children.

This means that observed weight differences were independent of possible weight changes due to recreational cycling, walking or jogging, sports, or being physically active at work.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, July 08 2018. 11:55 IST