The largest-ever study into the health benefits of active transportation has confirmed what most of us could easily have guessed: those who walk and bike to work have lower levels of body fat than those who drive or take public transit. While the study results are unsurprising to say the least, it is interesting to note that the lower levels of fat linked to active commuting were independent of other social factors such as socioeconomic status, alcohol consumption, smoking, or whether the person lives in a rural or urban area.
The study, carried out at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, used observational data from over 150,000 individuals taken from the UK Biobank data set, between the ages of 40-69 years. Body fat was assessed in two ways: body mass index (BMI), which is a ratio of weight to height, and body fat percentage. Across the board, people who always or occasionally commuted actively were observed as having lower levels of body fat than those who never did.