Intended for healthcare professionals


Healthier commuting

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 19 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5020
  1. Anthony A Laverty, research associate,
  2. Christopher Millett, reader in public health
  1. 1Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College, London, UK
  1. a.laverty{at}

Leave your car at home

There is increasing interest in persuading the public to drive less and to walk and cycle more to achieve health, transport, and environmental policy objectives. Immediate health benefits from this transition will be derived from increased physical activity and associated protection from weight gain, reduced air pollution, and less noise. The linked article by Flint and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.g4887) looks at this first health benefit in a UK based study examining associations between mode of travel to work and adiposity. The authors found that people who walk or cycle to work had a lower body mass index and lower percentage body fat than those using private transport (cars and motorcycles).1 These anticipated findings add to a well developed evidence base from other settings summarised in systematic reviews.2 Despite use of a cross sectional design, the study of Flint et al builds on existing evidence by using a large national dataset with objectively measured outcomes, as well as being able to adjust for important covariates such as diet and work based physical activity.

The most interesting and perhaps important finding of the study was the reduced adiposity associated with commuting to work by …

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