Intended for healthcare professionals


Cycling, physical exercise, and the millennium fund

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 05 August 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:344
  1. Raj Bhopal, Professor of epidemiology and public health,
  2. Nigel Unwin, Barclay lecturer
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
  2. Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health, Medical School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH

    The bicycle should underpin sustainable physical activity and transport

    Cycling provides a rapid, economical, and environmentally sustainable means of transport for short journeys; it also provides great pleasure and is excellent exercise. Yet in developed countries the bicycle has been edged off the roads by the car, and developing countries such as China are following suit—with potentially disastrous environmental consequences. In Britain an imaginative proposal now before the millennium fund, to build a national network of cycle paths, could help to give cycling a boost.1 Set within a wider strategy on transport and cycling it could help transform our lives for the better.

    Sedentary living contributes to ill health and premature death from non-communicable diseases, including coronary heart disease, stroke, non-insulin dependent diabetes, and osteoporosis.2 The consultation document from the Health of the Nation physical activity taskforce concludes that activities of moderate intensity, such as brisk walking and cycling, offer the greatest potential of health gain for most of the population.3 Cycling as a means of transport is a way …

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