In a new study, researchers found that overweight and obese people who use commute by car may have higher risks of premature death.
These people have a 32% higher risk of death from any cause than people with a normal weight and commute by cycling and walking.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Glasgow, UK.
In the UK, about 57% of men and 66% of women are overweight or obese.
Previous research has shown that active commuting such as cycling could cut death risk by half compared with car commuting.
In the new study, the team aimed to see how different types of commuting (car, cycling, walking, mixed-mode) might change the link between obesity and poor health.
They examined 163,149 UK Biobank participants who have been followed up for about 5 years. The participants’ age range was 37 to 73 years and a half were women.
They found that being obese/overweight combined with car commuting was linked to a 32% higher risk for premature death.
These people also had a doubling of the risk of heart disease mortality and a 59% increase in risk non-fatal heart diseases
On the contrary, in obese/overweight people who commuted with cycling or walking, the death risk was similar to normal weight active commuters.
This suggests that cycling or walking could help reduce the harmful effect of obesity.
However, in these people, the risk of heart disease was still increased by 82%.
The researchers conclude that people with overweight or obesity may cut their risk of premature death if they increase physical activity in their commuting.
The finding highlights the health benefits of physical activity.
Regardless of body weight, being physically active could partly reduce the excess risk associated with obesity.
The team suggests that active commuting is a great way to increase physical activity. It can be implemented and fitted within daily routines with no additional cost.
Active commuting can help people meet the current physical activity recommendations for health.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Carlos Celis from the British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Glasgow.
The study was presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity.
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